And a strategy at the end of the day is quite big-picture conversations. If you find yourself writing a strategy, getting into detail, back out of it because the detail isn’t required in a strategy.
But, you must have a detailed analysis to support strategies.
Big picture conversations
So what you need to do is you need to do the detailed analysis of particular areas and then bring that up to the big picture conclusion for the strategy.
Don’t put all the detailed analysis into the strategy because that’s not what they are about. The other thing with the details and this is where it’s hard as technical professionals, is to summarize it and tell the story with it.
So we’re really good at doing lots and lots of models and analysis and stuff like that. That’s what we are all trained to do but how do we summarize that and how would I then tell that story to a banker or an accountant or a public decision-maker who really doesn’t necessarily know the technical detail and doesn’t need to know it. So that’s what your strategy is doing.
What is the story you are trying to tell?
So the question that you’re asking yourself when you’re dealing with asset management or an infrastructure management strategy is what is the story. You’ve done the analysis but what story does that tell?
So coming back to the case I mentioned in the last lecture, the story of the Solomon Island education system was you need ten times the amount of money you’re spending at the moment. But the knock effect from that is, even if they got the money, they don’t have the people to build the schools.
If you’re going from your current program to ten times more you need, ten times more architects, you need ten times more project managers you need, ten times more builders, where are they coming from?
Ah, that’s a bit of a problem, isn’t it? So, there’s a whole heap of stuff that knocks on. And in their case, tertiary vocational education would be the answer to that, but they’re still in its infancy, as in many countries so…
There’s a whole heap of problems to deal with that you might ramp up. So your story at the end of the day for that might be, yes we need to get to here but we’ve got a ten-year ramp up.
We need to get more tradespeople. We need to train. We need to do that and we need to do it in each Province so we don’t start another civil war up there because one Province is getting more than another and that’s an engineering challenge or a project management challenge.
But the story has to be told, how I got from A to B in a way that’s realistic and achievable?
What are the key issues?
What are the key issues is a big question.
So when you start managing infrastructure, bearing in mind, I’m going to give you some examples and I’m going to talk about them later on in this lecture.
For a whole country… I’m going to show you the data for a whole Pacific Island country of all their infrastructure going forward. And I’m going to get you to tell me what do you think the key issues are?
Okay so once you understand the key issues, and you can do it for the whole country.
We’re starting to do that in New Zealand. We’ve done infrastructure plans for each local authority.
We’ve done infrastructure – so that’s parks, utilities, roads, community facilities, buildings, those sorts of things. So, we’ve got all of that sort of going after 10 or 20 years.
And the government departments are starting to do them for Corrections and we’ve got them for electricity.
In New Zealand, we’re collating all that information. And we can actually form a whole of country view, hey this is what we’ve got and this is what we need based on a whole set of assumptions.
Now the first thing that has happened when we’ve done that, and this is something Dr. Henning keeps coming up against and is actually starting to be quite assertive nationally about this.
The minute you do that you realize your data is not good enough. And so, you go hey, now we’re starting to use these data to try and tell a story the first thing we realized is we haven’t got enough good information.
And what Dr. Henning’s been doing, particularly with the transportation pavement modeling, is the places that are doing the modeling and understanding the data then go and find their gaps are and then they go and improve it early. And the ones that don’t go, oh we’ve got some data, that’s fine.
So, the whole Strategic Asset Management cycle will push you to improve your information basically.