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21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Improving Transportation Systems Management and Operations – Capability Maturity Model Workshop White Paper – Organization and Staffing

4. Relationships to Other Capability Dimensions

The workshops illuminated interdependencies among the Organization and Staffing dimension and other dimensions of capability.

4.1 Synergy

As noted in Section 3.1, the synergies among the six TSM&O CMM dimensions are key defining characteristics of their critically. Each dimension is directly dependent on other specific dimensions to support improving capabilities. The three process dimensions are interdependent, but they, in turn, are also dependent on supportive institutional dimensions.

It was apparent from the workshops that agencies’ organization and staffing was synergistic with other dimensions of capability, both process oriented and institutional. Agency culture is extremely influential in terms of top management support for elevating TSM&O program status, undertaking the reorganization needed for improved internal collaboration, and prioritizing TSM&O for increased staff slots. The inability to add staff was a widely acknowledged assumption in the discussion of the process dimensions (business processes, system and technology, and performance measurement) and clearly undercut staff ambitions to improve the effectiveness of their current activities or to expand them.  Without strong staff capabilities, technical improvements are difficult. At the same time, it also was apparent that the ability to develop and conduct appropriate business processes was dependent on both efficient organizational structure and staff since many of the essential business processes (e.g., development of a TSM&O program plan or architecture) require special staff capabilities. These relationships expressed in the workshops are diagrammed in Figure 4.1.

Figure 4.1 Graph. Key Synergisms between Organization and Staffing and Other Dimensions

Figure 4.1 is a circular graph with six points representing the six dimensions.

(Source: Cambridge Systematics, Inc. and Parsons Brinckerhoff.)

4.2 Span of Control

The workshops focused on middle management involved with TSM&O. This kind of staff is typically positioned at the third or fourth level within a State DOT central office, at the second or third level in DOT districts/regions, and is specialized staff in MPOs. These individuals have direct responsibility for visible TSM&O functions, such as TMCs operations, incident management, ITS device maintenance, or snow and ice control on a day-to-day basis in real time. These individuals appear to be well aware of existing organizational challenges and staffing problems; however, they are limited in their span of control over organizational change and constrained by staffing limitations. They facilitate many of the key process and organizational changes associated with increasing TSM&O capabilities that rest with second or first-level managers to whom they report. Therefore, TSM&O middle managers exert their influence over organization and staffing through their personal initiative, agency knowledge, and long-standing relationships. They make the case for change on a “middle-up” rather than top-down basis. Workshop participants’ discussions about TSM&O improvement and their implementation plans reflect a consciousness of organizational and staffing issues and recognition that implementation plan actions necessarily require upper management buy-in and initiative.

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