The City of Los Angeles’s Bureau of Engineering is growing, along with demand for its services. As outlined in a new three-year strategic plan, high visibility projects such as the Sixth Street Viaduct and the Los Angeles Street Civic Building are either underway or in planning; the $1.4 billion, 30-year Safe Sidewalks LA program, covering over 460 square miles and 9,000 miles of sidewalks, the largest of its kind in the nation, launched in 2016; and the Olympic Games—with all the work needed to help the City of Los Angeles welcome, house, and transport hundreds of thousands of athletes and spectators who will descend on the city in the summer of 2028—lie just over the horizon. That’s not to mention the 20,000 permits the bureau expects to issue in 2020 for right-of-way projects.
As the Bureau of Engineering looks to hire and onboard new staff to meet a growing demand for services, it will also need to replace retiring staff and their own share of institutional knowledge. While almost a third of the bureau’s employees have been on the job for less than five years, a quarter have been with the bureau for more than 25. To meet its strategic plan goals, the Bureau must implement a succession planning process that focuses on a knowledge transfer infrastructure and ensures an effective transition for its ongoing projects.
The plan’s four goals are:
- A Diverse and Skilled Team to ensure all employees have the tools and resources to grow professionally and to succeed;
- Innovative and Sustainable Practices to adopt standards and embrace creativity to meet the growing demands of the city;
- A Transparent and Responsive Organization to better serve clients and residents with improved communication and processes; and
- Efficient and Effective Services to maximize the utility of public resources.
Part of the challenge, however, is that each division has its own process to store its own electronic files. There is no dedicated library or location for making available more training content, streamlining different processes, or even documenting the unique tasks of different employees. To fix this, the bureau has set out an action item in its strategic plan to “develop a shared knowledge library of best practice materials, innovative ideas, current standard manuals and references, and a historical bank of digitized older manuals and reference guides,” and seeks to implement one or more web applications to provide field access to these documents and other training content.
To support this work, the City of Los Angeles’s Bureau of Engineering will partner with FUSE Corps to host an executive-level fellow for one year to assess the bureau’s infrastructure for content storage and access, review current practices in similar-sized and focused agencies elsewhere, review currently available market solutions, make appropriate recommendations and prepare their implementation once approved.
PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES
The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables that follow will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship, after which a revised scope of work will be developed and agreed upon by the FUSE Fellow and the host agency.
Starting in April 2020, it is proposed the FUSE Fellow will:
First three months
- Meet with both internal and external stakeholders to assess the Bureau of Engineering’s current content storage infrastructure. Some of the questions the FUSE Fellow will be expected to explore include:
- How individual divisions within the bureau currently save content related to individual job tasks and projects?
- Are these practices meeting the needs of new employees as they assume responsibility for managing content?
- Are these practices a barrier to sharing data and information across divisions?
- What categories, or tags, would be helpful to use for content searches?
- What content do engineers and other staff in the field need to access?
- Collate, analyze, and synthesize stakeholder responses.
- Present findings to internal and external stakeholders for initial feedback.
Next three months
- Conduct research for solutions that meet the needs outlined by the bureau’s internal and external stakeholders.
- Research solutions implemented by other similar sized and focused government agencies in this area.
- Interview technology officers at a sampling of government agencies to identify strengths and challenges of each solution proposal.
Next three months
- Draft a report that incorporates the following:
- Responses from internal and external stakeholders and identify current practices within each of the bureau’s divisions.
- A catalogue of available solutions.
- A review of the strengths and challenges of the solutions shared by other similar sized and focused government agencies.
- Recommendations for adoption, including whether to customize existing solutions to better fit the needs of the bureau.
- Present the report to stakeholders across the bureau.
Last three months
- Plan and prepare project sustainability beyond the end of the fellowship.
- Timeline for implementation of approved recommendations.
- Address necessary staff training, for rolling out recommendations.
- Implement any small changes can immediately address issues prior to a larger process.
- Identify pilot programs to be phased.
- Begin pilot program.
Due to the broad range of services the Bureau of Engineering provides, we are not presupposing either an off-the-shelf or customizable solution. Part of the FUSE Fellow’s responsibilities will be to identify which solution(s) will meet the bureau’s needs.
- Gary Lee More, City Engineer
- Ted Allen, Deputy City Engineer, Development Services and Permits
- Crystal Lee, Harbor District Engineer
- The bureau’s other program areas and divisions.
- At least 10 years of professional experience in a relevant field, particularly with a strong background in working for or with government clients.
- Familiarity with technological solutions for large organizations, particularly cloud solutions and knowledge transfer processes.
- Experience working for a large company on knowledge transfer processes.
- Experience with and a deep understanding of change management within a large organization.
- Superior critical thinking and analytical skills.
- Solid writing and oral communication skills; the ability to build and deliver persuasive presentations.
- Ability to synthesize complex information into clear and concise recommendations.
- Ability to relate to a wide variety of diverse audiences with strong emotional intelligence and empathy.
- Excellent stakeholder engagement skills and the ability to use facilitative leadership techniques to coordinate stakeholder activities.
- Self-motivated, goal-oriented, entrepreneurial leader who can also be an independent worker.
- Persistent in obtaining information and creatively resourceful in identifying solutions to complex problems.
- Ability to create direction and movement within potentially ambiguous
- Exceptional written and verbal communication skills with an ease in public presentations.
- Understands the need for solutions to support all people in a community regardless of race, religion, gender, immigration status, or ethnicity