Professional Services Contract (Program) Manager On-Demand Training and Best Practices
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Professional Services Contract (Program) Manager On-Demand Training and Best Practices

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    Final Report, January 2014 to March 2017
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    Every year the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) spends millions of dollars hiring consultants to provide professional services in support of its planning, design, construction and maintenance operations. It is essential that professional service program managers have the experience and knowledge necessary to effectively and consistently procure and manage these professional consultants. In order to address program manager training needs that were identified during a pilot training session held in Columbia, SC in November 2012 for SCDOT employees, this research project was initiated with the following objectives: a) investigate the online training programs of state transportation agencies across the U.S. and develop a recommended “Best Practices” for online training; b) incorporate best practices to develop up to 10 (12-15 minute length) online training modules for program managers; and c) develop exam questions for each training module that could be used to test comprehension and understanding of the material covered by each module. The objectives were met by conducting a detailed review of relevant publications and past studies, development and distribution of an online survey that facilitated the collection of data from ten state DOTs, and a series of telephone interviews with nine state agencies in order to collect additional details concerning their online training programs. The information collected from the state agencies during this process permitted the research team to develop a knowledge base of the current practice of online training among transportation agencies. This insight coupled with the lessons learned from the literature search was utilized to develop 10 online training modules for SCDOT Professional Services Program Management. Upon completion of these training modules, each was pilot tested to simulate the experience of a ‘new’ user. Feedback from the pilot tests was incorporated in the final modules, which were then posted on SCDOT’s intranet for employee access. Based on the findings from this research program and a review of the current database of online training on SCDOT’s Learning Management System (LMS), recommendations have been prepared for SCDOT’s consideration. The research team’s recommendations are provided to SCDOT in an effort to continue the improvement of management practices and associated training development for dissemination and standardization of procedures. The recommendations are as follows: (1) To continue the efforts made on this current research effort, SCDOT should request feedback through short surveys to solicit employees’ opinions of the training modules based on (a) ease of use; (b) clarity of material; (c) quality of the material; and (d) quality of the training experience. (2) SCDOT should use the method and module development approach employed with this project to improve training in other areas of SCDOT’s business practices. The four areas of research and development suggested for future training initiatives include: 1) Local Public Agency Administered Projects; 2) Staffing Procedures and Best Practices; 3) PreConstruction and Project Set-up; and 4) Design-Build Project Delivery.
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