Mass Transit - 32

DATA
of staff where he leads strategic,
tactical and operational initiatives
among other responsibilities.
Schulze's first order of business
following the establishment of the
Office of Policy & Strategy about
five years ago was to lay out the
agency's goal setting processes.
"The way our process works
here at DART is that the board of
directors sets performance measures for our President/Executive
Director Gary Thomas and then
Mr. Thomas takes those priorities and rolls them out to staff, so
that we have alignment all the way
through our governing board down
to the individual performance
plans for the year," said Schulze.
He explained that it took a few
years, but the agency has now implemented an improved process
that has moved away from granular-type goals at the board level to much more high level, key
performance indicators.

WMATA

TRACK ACCESS
is one of
the issues
WMATA's
Strategic
Initiatives
Team has been
working to
improve. Here a
team member
speaks with
MOW crew
members.

"It's

important to understand what [a
stakeholder's] thinking is; how they're reacting
or responding to a problem, or an initiative,
or a challenge. Because if I understand what
their obstacles might be, then that helps us
in setting reasonable goals for outcomes."
-DAVID SCHULZE, chief of staff, DART

Schulze begins with a seemingly simple act: Listening. He listens
to input from DART's board executives, the agency's managers on
through to the community to see
where the challenges may lie.
"It's an iterative process, with information coming from everybody
who is a stakeholder in the process,"
said Schulze. "It's important to understand what their thinking is;
how they're reacting or responding
to a problem, or an initiative, or a
challenge. Because if I understand
what their obstacles might be, then
that helps us in setting reasonable
goals for outcomes."
Schulze believes helping leaders identify pinch points or prob-

32 |

Mass Transit | MassTransitmag.com | JULY/AUGUST 2019

lem areas has been the value created
through the process. He explains
that by elevating those problems to
the level of a tracked and monitored
performance measure, this provides leaders with a tool to either
make a business case for funding
or make a case to frontline teams
that special attention is needed to
accomplish a deliverable.
Another key element Schulze says
needs to be included is the explanation of why an ask is being made.
"If you just ask somebody to do
something and you don't tell them
why, you're going to get pushback,"
said Schulze. "The next facet is
making sure that everybody understands what you're asking them
to do. And once they have helped
with something, say thank you and
show them how their individual
contribution made a difference to
the success of the effort."
Schulze points to several examples of how the Office of Policy
& Strategy has delivered over the
years beginning with DART's Records Management Program.
"We completely redid our Records Management plan and developed a small staff of experts who I
believe have come to the position of
being trusted advisors and welcome
partners throughout the agency.
That was critical to get that on the
ground because we were looking
at four significant, huge enterprise
information systems," said Schulze.
The four systems included a project management system, enterprise
document management system,
enterprise learning system and enterprise asset management system.
"Without excellent records management protocols in place, trying to

wrangle all the digital records that
go into those systems would have
been a nightmare, and I'm pleased to
have asked for this body of work and
seeing that if we didn't get Records
Management right pretty quick, all
of these other major investments
would be at risk," he explained.
Following the successful delivery of the Records Management
System, Schulze was tasked with the
responsibility of preserving DART's
historical records. The agency is 35
years old and its first generation
of employees are retiring. Schulze
explains when they leave, so does a
part of DART's history.
"It was important at this particular moment in time that we start
to take some steps to capture that
memory before it leaves. What began as a casual inquiry about oral
histories has developed into a fullblown creation of the DART Historical Archives," said Schulze.
DART has entered into an agreement with the University of North
Texas to partner on the historical
archives, which will be available to
the public.
Schulze is also proud to have been
a part of gathering together and codifying DART's administrative policies, which had broken down as the
agency moved away from paper.
"These aren't things that guide
employee behavior. These are things
that guide business processes. For the
first time in many years, we've gone
through and gathered all that information and put it in a single place
[and made it] available electronically
so all our employees have access to
what our policies are," said Schulze.
For agencies wanting to set up a
similar strategic alignment department, Schulze notes there are as
many ways to approach it as there are
people for which it could be assigned.
"I think the key lies in giving the
individual selected to lead that effort
the trust and the freedom to bring
their skills to bear," said Schulze.
"I'm lucky in that I've been given the
freedom to bring my best thinking
and my way of thinking about strategic projects to this role."


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Mass Transit

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Mass Transit

Ad Index
Editor's Notebook
People & Places
A New Standard Shapes Commuter Rail in Boston
Connected Vehicles: Tampa
Beyond the Bus: Charge Management
Driven by Data
Making the Case for Standardization in MaaS
Best Practices
Products
Mass Transit - 1
Mass Transit - 2
Mass Transit - 3
Mass Transit - 4
Mass Transit - 5
Mass Transit - Ad Index
Mass Transit - 7
Mass Transit - Editor's Notebook
Mass Transit - 9
Mass Transit - People & Places
Mass Transit - 11
Mass Transit - A New Standard Shapes Commuter Rail in Boston
Mass Transit - 13
Mass Transit - 14
Mass Transit - 15
Mass Transit - 16
Mass Transit - 17
Mass Transit - 18
Mass Transit - 19
Mass Transit - Connected Vehicles: Tampa
Mass Transit - 21
Mass Transit - 22
Mass Transit - 23
Mass Transit - Beyond the Bus: Charge Management
Mass Transit - 25
Mass Transit - 26
Mass Transit - 27
Mass Transit - Driven by Data
Mass Transit - 29
Mass Transit - 30
Mass Transit - 31
Mass Transit - 32
Mass Transit - 33
Mass Transit - Making the Case for Standardization in MaaS
Mass Transit - 35
Mass Transit - Best Practices
Mass Transit - 37
Mass Transit - 38
Mass Transit - Products
Mass Transit - 40
Mass Transit - 41
Mass Transit - 42
Mass Transit - 43
Mass Transit - 44
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