Smart Cities Part Two: Project Ranking and Selection

New York City fleet
New York City fleet

You probably have more projects in your backlog than you can afford. How do you prioritize them? Once you do, how well can you defend your plan with actual data?

Don’t forget to think about risk management: how uncertain are you of the outcomes, and what is the likelihood of a loss?

What’s the deal with project ranking and selection?

The objective of project ranking and selection is to give your organization tools to identify goals and rate projects. Through this process, your organization should be able to make tough decisions by weighing projects across multiple factors. You can combine and plot these factors on a chart, for example, by comparing two different factors and seeing which projects maximize both values. Let’s say you want to pick projects that have a big benefit to public safety, with minimal negative impact to the environment. 

If your city wanted to start the “Repave Mission,” they could see justification in its large savings for public safety and minimal environmental impact costs. If they were thinking of starting the “New Light Rail,” however, they would have to note that while it has massive public safety savings, it also has substantial environmental impact costs.

What problems does project ranking and selection solve?
  • Selecting between projects that compete for funding, time and other resources
  • Identifying which factors on a project are important with respect to your city’s goals
  • Reducing wasted labor and materials by coordinating projects and resources
  • Allowing you to look at the big picture by comparing data values across multiple projects at once
What specific steps can your city take?
  1. Track your projects in a database. Since most of your projects pertain to maintaining existing assets and building new assets, it makes sense to use an asset management system that retains all of your data between departments. This integration allows project managers to communicate with laborers and vice versa.
  2. Measure and monitor asset conditions. This way there are no surprises when one of your facilities needs a new roof or one of your other assets fails.
  3. Identify and document your goals. These are the long-term visions of the city and they often take multiple years to achieve. One example of a city goal may be reducing traffic fatalities.
  4. Identify S.M.A.R.T. objectives to achieve these goals. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based. There will often be multiple objectives that work toward a common goal. For example, one objective toward reducing traffic fatalities could be, “Increase the public safety advertising budget to $250,000 by 2020.” When an objective is stated this way you can measure the progress toward both the time goal and the financial goal.
  5. Decide which factors matter for your projects. What is the extent to which those factors help you achieve your goals? For example, if you are concerned with increasing public safety you could rate your projects on the “Degree to which public safety is increased” using a scale of 1 to 10 (multiple factors lead to best results)! Then, when you are selecting between projects as you develop your budget, you can refer back to these quantifiable ratings to decide which projects have more merit. 

AssetWorks Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) software comes equipped with the tools you need to start the track to making your city smart. EAM includes complete asset life-cycle management, with budgeting, acquisition, capital improvement, campaigns and disposal management. In addition, EAM comes with robust service request, work order and calendar functionalities. Finally, EAM is integrated with Esri GIS and AssetWorks FleetFocus fleet management systems so that your data can be streamlined and kept accurate in real time.

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