Incorporating Life Cycle Management into Work Planning and Delivery
Life cycle management approaches and corresponding life cycle strategies are the means by which agencies identify the work necessary to meet their asset management goals within funding constraints. However, for those asset management goals to be met, the necessary work must actually be delivered. This requires the recommendations from life cycle analyses to be incorporated into the business processes by which the agency identifies, prioritizes, programs, designs, and delivers work. In most agencies this includes multiple business processes and funding streams. The following subsections describe how life cycle management can be incorporated into common processes within transportation agencies.
Planning and Programming
The planning process seeks to identify the set of investments that will effectively and efficiently achieve an agency’s goals and objectives. As an agency alters its approach to managing assets, this may change assumptions previously influencing the planning process. Significant changes in an agency’s approach to managing its assets can require updates to long-range or strategic plans. Similarly, changes in long-term objectives or plans can prompt a change in life cycle strategy or approach.
Coordination is needed between long range transportation planning, performance-based plans such as the TAMP, and programs of work, such as TIPS and STIPs (see chapter 2). In particular there is a need for alignment between the financial planning procedures and documentation between these different efforts and products. Although programs tend to be relatively short term, often 1 to 4 years in length, agencies must identify investment needs several years in advance to ensure projects can be delivered when required. Complex reconstruction or modernization projects can take 10 years or more to deliver from scoping to construction. Thus, it is important to keep planners informed of changes in selected life cycle strategies. Changing new life cycle strategies may lead to significant differences in the projects selected.
Life cycle management is a framework for identifying the appropriate treatments throughout an asset’s service life to maximize performance. Project engineering includes the processes for packaging work into contracts for delivery. Thus, project engineering is responsible for ensuring the right treatment is delivered at the right time and within the anticipated cost. Additional details on work packaging to support asset management are provided in chapter 5.
Maintaining strong internal controls ties project decisions to their impacts on anticipated asset performance. Project schedule changes may cause inappropriate treatments to be applied to assets, resulting in unnecessarily high costs or poor performance. Scope changes often lead to cost changes, and while cost changes may be addressed for a specific project, the funds added to that project would not be available to address other system needs.
Use of Agency Maintenance Forces
Effective delivery requires adequate labor capacity with appropriate training, proper equipment, and necessary materials. Changes in an agency’s management approach can alter the requirements for any of these aspects of maintenance management. The necessary treatments cannot be delivered if a properly sized and equipped crew cannot be assembled. Maintenance staff cannot administer treatments for which they are not properly trained or correctly supplied. Therefore, it may be important to have maintenance management staff actively engaged in the process of identifying preferred life cycle management approaches.