The Department of Transport (DoT) is committed to advancing an inclusive workplace culture and teams that are diverse, engaged, valued and high performing, to deliver an integrated transport system that contributes to inclusivity. DoT’s teams are increasingly diverse with a mix of backgrounds, personality, life experiences and beliefs. Similarly, DoT requires diversity through our social procurement policy, to allow DoT to engage a diverse range of consultants and contractors to complement DoT’s own resources. DoT has established a Technical Advisory service with the AECOM WSP Joint Venture. AECOM WSP are also committed to creating project teams that closely represent DoT and the communities we serve, so we can better anticipate and respond to complex challenges.
Through the Asset Condition Assessment Project (ACAP) DoT is developing a clear understanding of asset condition at an individual asset, systems, and network level to meet the State’s objective of providing an integrated safe and reliable transport network. ACAP was set up deliver reliable asset condition data to inform renewal requirements that best balance risk, cost, and performance. ACAP is being delivered over four phases, between 2018 and 2026. DoT has engaged the AECOM WSP joint venture to support various ACAP related activities.
The Project team established by DoT to develop and deliver ACAP Phase 2, between May 2020 and September 2021, was made up of over 20 individuals from DoT, AECOM and WSP. This highly diverse team was led by Cassie Khaw, who developed a strong team culture and encouraged strategic thinking, to enable the richness of the strengths and experiences of team members to be harnessed and successfully deliver the project.
2. Summary of your asset management team
The asset management team that was formed for the development and delivery of ACAP Phase 2 epitomised DoT, AECOM and WSP’s diversity and inclusion principles. The team consisted of 21 team members with a wide range of personal characteristics, including gender (57/43% female/male), ethnicity (>60% of the team were born overseas), family status, and cultural beliefs as well as diversity of thought and experience. More than ten languages are spoken by team members, and ten different cultures are observed across the team, and no two team members have had the same education or experience in the workforce.
3. Demonstration of Organisational Leadership in creating and maintaining Diversity
DoT, AECOM and WSP are all committed to advancing an inclusive workplace culture where our people are safe, diverse, engaged, valued and high performing. In DoT, this enables us to deliver an integrated transport system that contributes to an inclusive, prosperous, and environmentally responsible state. DoT demonstrates this commitment through the application of the Inclusion & Diversity Strategy 2019-2023. DoT’s teams are increasingly diverse with a mix of backgrounds, personality, life experiences and beliefs. Similarly, DoT requires diversity through our social procurement policy, to allow DoT to engage a diverse range of consultants and contractors to complement DoT’s own resources. At DoT we use our buying power to generate social value above and beyond the value of the services we procure, to provide wider social value to Victoria.
DoT has established a Technical Advisory service with the AECOM WSP Joint Venture. The Victorian Government’s Social Procurement Framework was part of the weighted evaluation criteria in the tender undertaken to engage the AECOM WSP Joint Venture. DoT benefits from the diversity that AECOM and WSP bring to our project work through this technical advisory service and through both AECOM and WSP’s focus on Diversity. AECOM WSP are committed to creating project teams that more closely represent DoT and the communities we serve, so we can better anticipate and respond to complex challenges.
The Project team established by DoT to develop and deliver ACAP Phase 2, between May 2020 and September 2021 was made up of twenty-one individuals from DoT and AECOM WSP. The team was highly diverse and developed a strong team culture to enable the richness of the strengths and experiences of the individuals to be harnessed into a cohesive and high performing team. The team successfully delivered not only ACAP Phase 2, but also brought forward and progressed early stage works for ACAP Phase 3.1.
The asset management team that was formed for the development and delivery of ACAP Phase 2 epitomised DoT’s diversity and inclusion principles. The team valued and demonstrated inclusion and diversity, providing a work environment that recognised, respected, valued and leveraged the strengths and differences of the individual team members. The team consisted of 21 team members with a wide range of personal characteristics, including gender (57% female and 43% male), ethnicity (>60% of the team were born overseas), family status, and cultural beliefs as well as diversity of thought and lived experiences. More than ten languages are spoken, and ten different cultures are observed across the team, and no two team members have had the same education or experience in the workforce.
The team worked to make each other and those they worked with feel valued and respected and so that they could comfortably and confidently contribute their perspectives and talents to improve the project outcomes. The team members were not only connected through the work they delivered but also through sharing their culture, especially with respect to food. Unfortunately, due to remote working through COVID, across the life of the project, the team were unable to share meals in person, but food was often a topic of conversations that the team bonded over virtually throughout the project.
The team worked together from the inception of Phase 2 of ACAP, including developing the project scope and to provide leadership, oversight, and analysis through the delivery phase of the project. Throughout delivery, the team worked to formulate strategies and evaluate options for utilising the condition data from ACAP Phase 2 to model macro level asset renewal investment for DoT.
DoT: Nicola Belcher (F), Adam Schmidt (M), Cassie Khaw (F), Thapelo Oageng (M), Piya Savage (F), Marylyn Goh (F), Thao Holmes (F).
AECOM WSP: Frédéric Blin (M), Joel Diamond (M), Michael Battaini (M), Renee Liu (F), Mia Turner (F), Yee Vien Ng (F), Robert Peskin (M), Julie-Anne Latham (F), Bronte Seidel (F), Antoine Burdett (M), Callan Jones (M), Carey Thornton (F), Gary Rykers (M), Catherine Robinson (F).
4. Opinion as to specific contribution made by the nominated individual/team/organisation
In addition to being the project team lead for the ACAP Phase 2 Project team, Cassie Khaw is the Senior Manager for Asset Performance in the Rail Services Division at DoT. As the project leader, Cassie continually demonstrated her strengths in collaboration and engagement, bringing the team members together to work on various aspects of the project, including to explore opportunities and challenges in more depth. Cassie encouraged strategic and diverse thinking in developing the project objectives and steering the project outcomes, so that DoT could consider innovative methods and processes and achieve maximum benefit from the asset condition data being collected. Together the project team contributed to the development of a decision-making framework enabling the balancing of risk, cost and performance. Through the diverse contributions made by the team the framework was able to consider different facets of performance, relevant to the diversity of our public transport customers.
Cassie’s educational background in architecture and information systems, and her experience in data management also had a significant influence on her leadership of the project. The skills and experience that Cassie brought to the team complemented the traditional asset management, project management and engineering skills and experience that many other team members brought. Cassie’s passion for digital engineering and improving the completeness and accessibility of data and information, led to the project team thinking more strategically about the collection and use of asset condition data collected through ACAP. This resulted in the development of a data management framework, to provide DoT with better ability to harness the power of the condition and other data sets to enable investment modelling to be undertaken.
Cassie has a mature and considered appreciation for diversity. At DoT, Cassie has built a diverse, multi-disciplinary team who are very capable and engaged. Cassie herself has a diverse background and experience, having been born in Malaysia and identifying as Chinese Malaysian, coming to Australia as a young adult to attend university and commence her career. Cassie is very appreciative of her experience and the richness of her culture. Cassie shares this experience and uses it to emphasise and recognise strengths in others, through their diversity and backgrounds. This diversity also brings diversity in thinking and the ability to conceptualise and present information in an inclusive way. Cassie worked with the project team to lead the development of a roadmap for DoT to progress from ACAP Phase 2 to ACAP Phase 3, and to enable funding to be brought forward to commence early works for ACAP Phase 3. The team took a more strategic view of the future asset and investment modelling that could be achieved and consequently established methodology for aligning condition and performance data sets collected outside of ACAP to allow them to be normalised and used effectively.
The diverse nature of the joint DoT and AECOM WSP team, combined with Cassie’s leadership ensured the ACAP solutions developed and the outcomes achieved for DoT were innovative and demonstrated leading asset management practice.
5. Demonstration of Innovation in your asset management team
Through ACAP, DoT is working to develop a clear understanding of asset condition at an individual asset, systems, and network level to meet the State’s objective of providing an integrated safe and reliable transport network. ACAP was set up deliver reliable asset condition data to inform renewal requirements that best balanced risk, cost, and performance. In ACAP Phase 1, DoT developed an asset condition assessment framework and guidelines and innovative sampling and extrapolation methodologies to allow the State to understand the condition at a system and network level without surveying every asset. ACAP Phase 2 set about collecting condition data (over 2,500 network assets) for more assets to improve the confidence in the data at a system and network level. The innovation that the asset management team brought to ACAP Phase 2 and 3.1 was associated with the use of the data, once collected, for communicating asset condition and as input into investment modelling. DoT does not currently have a strategic asset management modelling capability, or comprehensive data management strategy.
The ACAP Phases 2 and 3.1 asset management team, worked together to undertake a suite of complementary tasks to enable the condition data collected through ACAP to be used more effectively. The team produced a decision-making framework enabling the balancing of risk, cost and performance and a data management framework. This then led to a pilot to test the framework and strategy using a technology solution. The pilot combined existing asset condition data sets with data from other sources to demonstrate the value DoT could achieve from strategic asset modelling.
6. Diversity benefits
The ACAP Phases 2 and 3.1 asset management team has used their diversity to good effect throughout the project. Through establishing a skilled and diverse team DoT has been able to deliver high quality work and contribute to better management of our public transport assets and services, to benefit the community.
Cassie and her team created an environment that was not limited by position or education, allowing everyone to contribute their unique skills and experience. Cassie included some members in the team to allow them to grow and develop their asset management experience and broaden their thinking about how data can be used. This added to the diversity of the team and brought diversity of thought thereby improving the quality of the project deliverables.
The team also reached out to a wide range of stakeholders throughout DoT and in the major transport infrastructure authorities, to share information and seek feedback. This has also helped for team members to grow their professional networks and relationships outside of their Branch.
Similarly, the AECOM WSP team members have also improved their knowledge of DoT and developed new relationships to contribute to complex problem solving. AECOM WSP were able to bring vast experience and exposure to best practice, through their international colleagues and university associations. They are very encouraging of their team members engaging with others to promote diversity of knowledge and improvement of skills. The asset management team members are also focused on promoting a culture of technical and personal growth, not only for their team but also for strengthening and growing the strategic asset management profession more generally.
The diversity of the team and project success was also challenged by the team working from home throughout ACAP Phase 2, due to COVID. Team members naturally worked diversely in their own homes, with varying challenges due to their living arrangements and family situations. The team developed strategies for meeting and collaborating to enable them to perform at their best. Team members were encouraged to share various aspects of their lives, how they were coping with the lockdowns and changes and the ways that they liked to work in this different setting. This resulted in an overall more inclusive workspace. The team also found that this additional insight into our team members lives, helped to understand each other’s diversity. We were also able to support diversity, through participation by sharing stories and discussing life events and current affairs. These additional interactions and personal insights were appreciated by the team members, further contributing to inclusiveness within the team and allowing the team to support and promote diversity and inclusion with others.
Within the ACAP Phases 2 and 3.1 team diversity was encouraged through the promotion of collaboration and sharing. This was especially evident with the collaboration with DoT’s Future Public Transport Modelling Options project team. Sharing of knowledge and perspectives between teams helped to expand understanding and contribute to development of the decision-making framework and the roadmap for future phases of ACAP.
7. General comments
DoT’s ACAP is recognised as an innovative approach to the collection and use of asset condition data. Having a diverse team working on this project has contributed to the innovative and strategic approach to data management and set an example for the asset management community. Our team has a passion for using our diversity to deliver high-quality and innovative solutions and to share the learnings and success across our organisations and the wider asset management industry. The diversity of our team members, each with varying technical and cultural backgrounds, perspectives, and gender provides great opportunity for accessing a wide variety of strengths, leading to greater innovation and leading practice.
DoT and AECOM WSP are committed to growing and advocating for diversity within our organisations, as this results in better outcomes for our diverse customers and community. DoT and AECOM WSP demonstrate this through strong diversity and inclusion statements, policies and strategies, but also by building successful teams that are inclusive and diverse.
By ensuring the ACAP Phase 2 project team was diverse, we have been able to realise project benefits in the quality of work and the outputs achieved. The team used their strengths, backgrounds, and perspectives to produce leading solutions.
The ACAP Phase 2 asset management team now stands as a demonstration of the benefits of diversity and a diversity leader within the Asset Management community.
Figure 1 – ACAP DoT Team Members – enjoying a rare face to face project meeting in the office in April 2021. Nicola Belcher, Thao Holmes, Cassie Khaw and Adam Schmidt.
Figure 2 – A virtual ACAP team meeting with representatives from DoT, AECOM and WSP in June 21 to workshop the Asset Decision Support Framework.