7.4 Data Management Assessment How To


Perform a Data Management Maturity Assessment

NCHRP Report 814 provides tools and guidance for transportation agencies wishing to understand the current state of their data management practices and identify opportunities to improve how they manage data to maximize their value. A subsequent research implementation project (NCHRP 20-44(12) produced a detailed facilitators manual providing instruction for potential application of the Report 814 Data Management Maturity Assessment.

Agencies can use the steps below to complete a four-phase assessment of their current and desired capabilities for managing data. This assessment methodology can be applied at either an agency-wide or program-specific basis. See the NCHRP 20-44(12) Building Capacity for Self-Assessment of Data Effectiveness for Agency Business Needs Final Report and Facilitators Guide for more detailed instructions.

  1. Initial Preparation

    Initial assessment preparation is required to scope, plan, and engage the targeted participants in the data management maturity assessment. The NCHRP 20-44(12) Facilitator Manual provides detailed guidance on each step in the Initial Preparation phase:

    • Step 1.1 – Engage a Core Planning Team: Identify a small group (3-4 individuals) to support the initial preparation process and assist with future assessment steps.
    • Step 1.2 – Scope the Assessment: Decide how far you will want to take the assessment process – will a simple gap analysis be sufficient or do you need a detailed plan to support immediate improvement actions? Identify your targeted participants and establish an assessment timeline.
    • Step 1.3 – Develop a Work Plan: Plan out the assessment process with your Core Planning Team – make sure you are aligned with the desired outcomes and consider the workload and schedules of your participants.
    • Step 1.4 – Configure the Spreadsheet Tools: Download and configure the Data Management Assessment tools. If individual participant assessments are intended, make sure you also download the Group Consensus Building Tools.
    • Step 1.5 – Organize a Kickoff Meeting: Use the Kickoff presentation template to organize a kickoff meeting, addressing the assessment objectives, maturity framework and tools, and anticipated next steps. Be sure to leverage your Core Planning Team and consider inviting an executive sponsor to demonstrate agency commitment to the assessment process and outcomes.

  2. Maturity Assessment

    Complete the data management maturity process, referring to the detailed guidance provided in the NCHRP 20-44(12) Facilitator Manual for the Maturity Assessment phase:

    • Step 2.1 – Support Individual Assessment (optional step): This optional step allows you to collect individual assessments as a basis for subsequent group discussion. This approach can improve participant involvement, but can be a challenge for lower maturity programs, where participants may have difficulty interpreting and responding to assessment questions on their own.
    • Step 2.2 – Develop Group Consensus Building Materials: Consolidate individual assessment responses (if applicable), create a plan for group discussion, and prepare yourself for your facilitation responsibilities.
    • Step 2.3 – Organize and Conduct Group Consensus Building Meetings. Plan and execute two to three (90 minute) group consensus building meetings. As the facilitator, use the Group Consensus Building Tool to capture group discussion outcomes. Aim for weekly meeting to ensure a regular cadence to the assessment process.
    • Step 2.4 – Summarize Group Consensus: Prepare high-level summary materials and review, reconcile, and expand upon assessment ratings, comments, and improvement notes.

  3. Improvement & Action Planning

    Complete the improvement and action planning process as required to meet your desired assessment outcomes. Refer to the detailed guidance provided in the NCHRP 20-44(12) Facilitator Manual for the Maturity Assessment phase:

    • Step 3.1 – Identify Improvements: Organize a meeting of your assessment team to review and finalize the assessment summary materials and to identify the group’s improvement recommendations. Work with the Core Planning Team to refine the final gap analysis, assessment summary, and supporting communication materials.
    • Step 3.2 – Develop a General Action Plan: As desired, expand upon the gap analysis to document a general action plan intended to address the priorities identified through the assessment process.
    • Step 3.3 – Finalize a Detailed Action Plan. As desired, expand upon the general action plan to set specific implementation action leads, set realistic schedules or deadlines for action, and establish and set expectations for progress monitoring and reporting.

  4. Assessment Closeout

    Complete the assessment closeout process to finalize assessment summary materials and engage key stakeholders and decision-makers to communicate assessment outcomes and initiate implementation next steps.

    • Step 4.1 – Develop Assessment Closeout Materials: Create a presentation useful to outline the assessment process, outcomes, implementation recommendations, and next steps.
    • Step 4.2 – Organize and Conduct Closeout Meetings: Gather the assessment sponsor, core team members, key decision-makers and management to share the assessment outcomes and confirm understanding and buy-in to the recommended next steps. Encourage questions and feedback from key stakeholders.
    • Step 4.3 – Finalize Assessment Summary Materials: Follow up with key stakeholders and subject matter experts to address any outstanding items or issues raised during the assessment closeout. Update and package materials and communicate next steps and key responsibilities.