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Creating and Implementing a CSS Measurement Program

A comprehensive CSS measurement program should be a program that draws on process and outcome measures, and includes both a project-level and an organization-level focus may include a considerable number of measures.

Creating Measures - Leadership and Strategic Planning.
No two CSS performance measurement programs will be exactly alike, however, two key ingredients for creating a program are leadership and strategic planning.

Strong leadership and day-to-day management are needed to place a program on the right footing. Executive management must show considerable support for the concept from the outset, or resources and commitment may run out before the work is done and performance measures are in place. Equally important, measurement programs need a day-to-day champion capable of orchestrating and managing daily activities, both during the program establishment phase and during program implementation. In the measure development phase, a working group should be created to develop measures and an implementation framework. The working group will likely include both internal participants and external stakeholders. Who to involve will depend on agency-specific political and operating environments.

Measures for CSS should be consistent with any strategic planning efforts within an agency. Agency "vision/mission" statements generally drive a small set of broad strategic goals that are achieved by meeting multiple objectives. Performance measures are often linked to individual objectives. Agency-wide strategic planning efforts are likely to address multiple issues, therefore only a handful of objectives may relate to CSS. The detailed focus of a CSS performance measures program may necessitate development of more detailed goals and objectives to help guide the creation of individual measures.

Implementing Measures - A Tailored, Collaborative, Self-Assessment Approach.
An effective CSS measurement program should become an integral component of every project team's responsibilities. The principles of CSS do not apply only to large projects, and measurement initiatives should include large and small projects. For example, minor roadway rehabilitation projects may have other benefits to communities through which they pass if they are used as an opportunity to address community needs, as well as to ensure smooth pavement. Likewise, what seems like a minor repaving job could have a significant effect on the scenic and/or historic qualities of a road if the project includes widening shoulders or the roadway without addressing the impact on the scenic and historic qualities. Measurement efforts, however, should be tailored to project needs and depending on project conditions, a few or dozens of measures may be appropriate.
Many measures of CSS performance, particularly at the project level, are likely to rely on self-administered surveys of team members and their stakeholders. In a collaborative environment, all team members should participate in choosing individual measures that work for their project and in discussing results. External stakeholders should also be a part of these efforts. Some of the attributes of CSS for which measurement is desirable should be considered during the overall project development process. For example, criteria by which to judge alternatives can be developed to reflect concepts included in a project Problems, Opportunities and Needs statement and Vision or Goal statement. This will allow the project team and external stakeholders to judge alternatives in terms of whether they will solve the problems and meet the opportunities and needs and whether they will achieve the Vision or goals.
One or more "charrette" style sessions may be a practical strategy for arriving at agreement on measure results. A mix of measures that includes consideration of both qualitative and quantitative attributes of CSS performance is likely to be appropriate. For qualitative issues, measures can be generated by ranking responses on a graded scale (e.g. good/bad, 1 to 5, etc.).

Timing of Measures.
Many traditional DOT performance measures are measured on a regular schedule, such as quarterly or once a year. Organization-wide CSS measures, such as regular measurement of CSS training, fit this approach well. Project-level CSS performance measures are better suited to measurement at project milestones. Project-level processes can be measured either at project completion, or around key milestones in the project delivery process, e.g. during initial planning, after NEPA or key design phases, prior to construction, etc. Project-level outcomes are generally best measured after project completion.

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More Information: www.trb.org/publications/nchrp/nchrp_w69.pdf



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