Strategic Planning for Public Works Departments


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This presentation will teach Public Works Professionals how to implement an effective Strategic Planning process within their own Department.

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  • 26 Years Old Been with the City of Largo 3 Years now Previously served with the City of Jacksonville Florida Other APWA Offices: APWA Florida Chapter West Coast Branch Subcommittee on Generational Issues Co-Chair ELA Graduate and Mentor Accreditation Evaluator
  • Will talk many times about “Direction” Why is Direction important? - Because if you do not know where you are going, how will you know if you have gotten there? Or that you have accomplished anything? Provides legitimacy to the Managements direction to Staff
  • The purpose of Strategic Planning is the only real standard across all Plans – To provide you with a direction. Strategic Plans can be Short, Long, Full of Data, or Full of Nonsense. It all depends on the Organization. Remember that you need to develop a plan that works FOR YOU.
  • In Public Works Terms: What are the first two things you need to know before you begin building a road? Where it starts, and where it ends. Strategic Planning is much the same way. You are developing the Starting point and the Finish Line for your organization and then determining the fastest or best path in which to get from one to the other.
  • As with any plan, the implementation of its goals can only be achieved if the resources are there to do so, which includes staff. In strategic planning, this requires all of your staff to buy in and take ownership of the process and the results, because they will be the ones actually “doing” it. Buying in is usually predicated on their involvement in the process and their trust in their managers to guide them appropriately.
  • How did Largo PW Do it? Approach: Pyramid or the Christmas Tree. Committee should be made up of all types of employees from all different service providers or organizational units in your department In complying with the Second Rule, you need to sit down and earnestly discuss two very VERY important questions: What do we do? And How do we do it? This establishes your Mission, which is the apex of the Pyramid or the Star on your Tree Everything in your plan flows into this important aspect...whatever is planned to direct, must first be done to accomplish your mission.
  • Graphical Representation of the Pyramid or Tree. In this representation you start with the Star and grow out from there. The more in depth your plan you get, the more the specifics need to tie into the top or apex, or in the case of a tree, the trunk. The concept is to have a “Golden Thread” that you can tie the Mission of your department directly to a specific objective, and consequently the resources assigned to it. This provides legitimacy in how you budget, who you hire, and how you manage.
  • The Departmental Mission Statement is the most important part of the Strategic Planning process. It sums up in one sentence to everyone what the department does and for what purpose is it there. Departmental Missions can be long, short, vague, or specific, but in general it should encompass the breadth of the responsibility of the organization The Vision takes the Mission and shows what we plan to do with what we are responsible for. Now that we know what our Mission is, our Vision should set the general direction for what we want to do with it. Explain the Examples.
  • Assigning Values Statements to the Department help provide your staff and the public a baseline of what is important to the department. Values can include “Pride”, “Professionalism” and other verbs that describe what kind of Department you want to be
  • SWOT Analyses provide organizations a clear view of everything that could or will affect them in the future. Knowing what could affect the organization will assist you in providing a direction for it. If you do not have an idea of what is to come that is will either internally effect your organization or from the outside environment as will you know how to navigate and accomplish your goals?
  • This Graphic shows basically what each section of an Analysis provides you. Explain the graphic.
  • When thinking of the Tree format for this, think the major branches coming out of the Trunk of the Tree. These guiding principles should sum up in five to ten simple statements what services you provide, and what you intend to accomplish by providing those services. Explain the Example
  • Like the Pyramid or the Tree, we need to set specific goals in established time frames to meet the requirements of the mission (arms and branches of the tree). The point should flow both ways: We are doing this to accomplish the mission, but we are also doing this because it establishes our mission. Note: Going to talk about “Time Frame” a few different times in this presentation, and it varies depending what I am referring to. In this instance, the time frame is the range of the plan (When to When) whether it is 3 Years, 5 Years, 10 Years or otherwise.
  • Goals are synonymous with outcomes. Sometimes they are specific or sometimes they are vague. May not be measurable (as in did we accomplish this, did we reach a specific number, quantity or output).
  • Objectives or Strategies should provide a specific project, process, or job to do that you can definitely say at the conclusion of its established timeframe was either “Completed” or not. Objectives should be aspects of the goal that serve as guideposts towards the intended accomplishment of the Goal. In this example, the objective “provide strategic planning workshop by January 2010” helps to show how we are accomplishing the Goal of “Providing Opportunities for Electronic Educational Programming” but other objectives can also show how we are accomplishing that goal, and would further accomplish the Mission Time Frames here need to be defined in the objective itself. That way you can document whether it was completed or not. (Quarter, Month, or Specific Date)
  • Set Goals and Objectives for each division, office, or whatever organizational subset of the department you may have. Or, if your department only has a few services that it provides, possibly organize Goals and Objectives based upon Guiding Principles. Both systems provide for the Pyramid effect to work, they roll up and can easily be shown to a customer how your department is achieving its mission and vision.
  • This is the one part of the plan that should not be run by committee When publishing the plan you need to think of how can we present the information we have gathered in all of these meetings in a way that both we and our customers can easily understand it. It needs to inter-connect, so that everyone understands the point to every aspect of the plan “Why are we doing this if it doesn't accomplish our mission” Document the “Golden Thread” from the mission to the vision to the guiding principle, to the goal, to the objective and to the resource used to complete the objective (staff and dollars) Review other plans in the City (Citywide Strategic Plan, Financial Plans, Comprehensive Plans, Budgets, etc) and tie this plan into those.
  • Approval by your governing body may be a painful process to go through, but it solidifies your plan as a policy document. You can also utilize this document in presenting new ideas, programs, or processes that are due to the plan in the first place. Budget requests for additional staff, resources, or money in general can be tied to objectives in the plan, and their approval of it can provide legitimacy for your request.
  • Explain Documentation and Annual Report.
  • Remember that there is no right or wrong way of doing this. The way that has been presented is merely the way we did it with Largo PW and it worked for us, it MAY NOT work for you. As with all new programs or processes, you find out things that work better along the way, or by doing them again.
  • The Strategic Planning and Annual Reporting process has given us clout with the community and our customers, because they see we are working toward something, and getting there. They also trust us to be honest if we do not quite get there. We have had many objectives delayed, some canceled, and some in progress for considerable time, but the fact that we are honest about our abilities and the direction we are going provides us accountability to our customers.
  • All of these documents are available on the City of Largo Website at . When you go to this site, mouse over “Government” in the top right corner and click on “Public Works” on the drop down menu. The Annual Reports and Strategic Plan are all listed under the associated documents. Feel free to call me if you would like more information on these documents, or on our Accreditation process in general.
  • Strategic Planning for Public Works Departments

    1. 1. Strategic Planning for the Public Works Department Charles R. Jordan, M.P.A. Management Analyst II City of Largo, Florida
    2. 2. Introduction – Who am I? <ul><li>Name: Charles R. Jordan </li></ul><ul><li>Education: Graduate of the University of North Florida – Master of Public Administration (2007), Bachelor of Arts (2005) </li></ul><ul><li>Occupation: Currently Management Analyst II, Acting Facilities Manager, and Accreditation Manager of the City of Largo's Public Works Department. </li></ul><ul><li>Serves as the Public Works Department's Strategic Planning Committee Chairman </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitated the creation of the Department's first strategic plan which received a “Model Practice” notation with the APWA Accreditation Council. </li></ul>
    3. 3. Strategic Planning - Why? <ul><li>To establish a direction for your organization*** </li></ul><ul><li>To provide accountability </li></ul><ul><li>To establish appropriate work loads and work plans for the next few years </li></ul><ul><li>To provide your customers information on the services you provide and how you will provide them </li></ul>
    4. 4. Strategic Planning – Rule #1 <ul><li>There is no right way or wrong way to develop a Strategic Plan </li></ul>
    5. 5. Strategic Planning – Rule #2 You cannot know where you need to go without knowing at least WHERE YOU ARE
    6. 6. Strategic Planning – Rule #3 The plan cannot and will not work unless the organization as a whole can buy in, take ownership, and make it happen.
    7. 7. How did we do it? - Start from the Top <ul><li>The Pyramid / Christmas Tree Approach </li></ul><ul><li>Establish a Departmental Committee to steer the development of the plan. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask the simple, yet difficult questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What do we do? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do we do it? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Using these questions, discuss and establish your Department's Mission </li></ul>
    9. 9. Who are we? - Mission, Vision and Values <ul><li>Mission Statement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What we do </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Example- “Serve Public Works Professionals” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Vision Statement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Where we are heading with our Mission </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Example - “Provide quality services to Public Works Professionals to advance the profession” </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Who are we? - Mission, Vision and Values <ul><li>Values Statements </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What we believe as an organization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What we expect from our staff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What our customers should expect from us </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. What is on the horizon? <ul><li>Perform a SWOT Analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strengths </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Weaknesses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Threats </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why is it important to know what is in the organizations future? </li></ul>
    12. 12. SWOT Analysis
    13. 13. Guiding Principles <ul><li>Primary areas of Responsibility for the Organization </li></ul><ul><li>Probably the most difficult aspect of a Strategic Plan to develop </li></ul><ul><li>Set primary organization-wide goals </li></ul><ul><li>Intended Outcomes from the Mission </li></ul><ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Professional Development of APWA Members </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Goal Development <ul><li>Once your committee understands the organization, what you are, what you do, what will affect you, and what guides you, you need to determine what you are going to do in the established time frame to accomplish the Mission. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide opportunities for electronic educational programming for APWA Members </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Goals - Defined <ul><li>Departmental or Unit Outcome </li></ul><ul><li>Not Necessarily “Measurable” </li></ul><ul><li>Measured by the Objectives set to achieve the Goal </li></ul>
    16. 16. Objectives or Strategies <ul><li>The “Meat” of the Strategic Plan </li></ul><ul><li>Provide measured guideposts for success within measurable time frames </li></ul><ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide Strategic Planning Workshop for APWA Members by January 2010 </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. Goals and Objectives <ul><li>Depending on the breadth of your organization, consider breaking down Goals and Objectives into subsets based upon the organizational basis of the department, or the guiding principles set in the document. </li></ul>
    18. 18. Pull it all Together – Publishing the Plan <ul><li>Set a Project Manager </li></ul><ul><li>Tie all aspects to one another from Mission down to the Objective </li></ul><ul><li>Keep it Short and Sweet </li></ul><ul><li>Tie in to other plans. </li></ul>
    19. 19. Approval of the Plan <ul><li>Obtain approval from Advisory Boards and the organization's Governing Body </li></ul><ul><li>This puts the plan right in front of them and adds legitimacy for what is in the plan </li></ul><ul><li>Finally, it provides a basis for future budget requests, needs for resources due to their approval of the direction and objectives set out </li></ul>
    20. 20. Documenting Your Success <ul><li>Plans are worth nothing without documentation showing they are being used. </li></ul><ul><li>Report periodically to your management and to your customers of the status of the plan and the Department's accomplishments </li></ul><ul><li>Document the completion or non-completion of objectives and changes in the plan itself </li></ul>
    21. 21. Annual Report <ul><li>Approved by Advisory Board </li></ul><ul><li>Presented to City Manager and City Commission </li></ul><ul><li>Provides oversight and accountability to customers </li></ul>
    22. 22. Lessons Learned – Second 3-Year Plan <ul><li>Nothing ever works perfectly for you the first time </li></ul><ul><li>Strategic planning is an art, not a science </li></ul><ul><li>Largo Public Works is now coming to the beginning of its second 3 Year Strategic Plan Cycle </li></ul><ul><li>In 2011-2013 Plan, objectives will be more business-oriented </li></ul>
    23. 23. Lessons Learned - Continued <ul><li>Utilizing more front-line personnel in determining Division or Department objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Spacing out discussions and workshops to provide staff the opportunity to consider other ideas and speak with their co-workers </li></ul><ul><li>Alternate who facilitates discussions...provide leadership opportunities </li></ul>
    24. 24. Wrapping it all up... <ul><li>Since 2008, the City of Largo's Public Works Department has accomplished over 80% of its planned objectives, with the other 20% mainly being delayed due to the economy and the change in revenues. </li></ul><ul><li>The department has published two “Annual Reports” documenting the success of the Plan and other work initiatives. </li></ul>
    25. 25. Wrapping it all up... <ul><li>Divisional Goals & Objectives Reports are now integrated into Management and Supervisory Performance Evaluations </li></ul><ul><li>Department has received praise from Citizens, Community Leaders, and our City Commission for the accomplishments that have been achieved due to the Plan. </li></ul><ul><li>Most importantly – the Department is Trusted to provide our services and accomplish our mission </li></ul>
    26. 26. Contact Information Charles R. Jordan, M.P.A. Management Analyst II City of Largo, Florida [email_address] (727) 587-6740 x4302
    27. 27. Thank You!