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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-04-046
Date: October 2004

3. Specifications Development Process

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METHODOLOGY FOR DEVELOPING THE PROCESS

As stated in chapter 1, the objective of the project was to develop a comprehensive manual, supported by scientific evidence and statistical theory, which provides step-by-step procedures and instructions for developing effective and efficient QA specifications. Therefore, one of the most important tasks for the project was to identify the necessary steps, along with the specific options available at each step, for a SHA to comprehensively develop a QA specification.

The first step toward identifying what should be considered in the specification process was a meeting between the COTR for the project and the principal investigator. This meeting took place in Clemson, SC, and was also attended by the statistical consultant member of the project team, Hoke Hill, and the graduate research assistant who had primary responsibility for the literature search and specification review activities on the project.

The full research team then met in Clemson, SC, to develop the structure for the QA specifications development, implementation, and monitoring process. At this meeting, it was decided that the best way to present the specifications development process was in a flowchart. A detailed flowchart was developed and the major discussion points to accompany the flowchart were identified. Subsequently, one of the project team members, Charles Hughes, developed the initial draft of an executive summary to accompany and describe the elements of the process flowchart. The flowchart and the executive summary were then distributed to the members of the panel for their review.

The initial flowchart and executive summary were then reviewed and discussed at a meeting of the panel that was held in Washington, DC. After a great deal of discussion, some revisions were agreed upon. A few minor revisions to the flowchart also resulted from issues that were identified while writing the QA specifications manual.

THE PROCESS

The overall specifications development and implementation process can be divided into three primary phases:

The steps in each of these phases can be presented in a flowchart for each phase. The steps in each of the three phases of the overall specifications development and implementation process are presented and discussed in detail in the QA specifications manual that was developed during the project. The steps in the process are therefore not discussed in detail in this technical report.

Phase I of the specifications development and implementation process is initiation and planning. The steps that are involved in this process are identified in the flowchart in figure 2. Phase II is specifications development (the steps are identified in the flowchart in figure 3). Phase III is implementation (the steps are identified in the flowchart in figure 4).

FLOWCHARTS AS A GUIDE TO REQUIRED ANALYSES

The process flowcharts for each of the three phases of the specifications development and implementation process are presented in this technical report because the flowcharts were used to identify some of the major questions that a SHA must answer when developing a new, or modifying an existing, QA specification. Each of these questions has several possible answers. The flowcharts, therefore, helped lead to the analyses that needed to be performed on the current project to determine the recommended answers to these major questions.

There are many decisions that are required as an agency progresses through the specifications development and implementation process outlined in figures 2 through 4. Many of these decisions are subjective and depend on the specific circumstances of the SHA. Each of the steps in the process is discussed in the manual. Some of the questions, however, were best answered by further analysis of the possible options.

The following questions, identified from the specifications development and implementation process flowcharts, supported detailed analyses to be conducted during the project:

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Figure 2. Flowchart for phase I-Initiation and planning.


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Figure 3. Flowchart for phase II-Specifications development.


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Figure 3. Flowchart for phase II-Specifications development (continued).


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Figure 3. Flowchart for phase II-Specifications development (continued).


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Figure 3. Flowchart for phase II-Specifications development (continued).


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Figure 3. Flowchart for phase II-Specifications development (continued).


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Figure 4. Flowchart for phase III-Implementation.

 

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