Project management, planning and change control processes.
Invensys Rail (previously Westinghouse Rail Systems Ltd) is a British supplier of railway signaling and control equipment to the rail industry worldwide. Part of the Invensys Rail Group, its head office is in Chippenham, Wiltshire, where it manufactures a variety of mechanical and electrical/electronic railway signaling equipment. It has six other UK offices in Croydon, York, Birmingham, Crawley, Swanley and Glasgow. It also has a number of overseas offices, particularly in the Far East, including Melbourne.
Invensys Rail was engaged in an extensive program of signaling 'immunization' works on the subsurface lines for its client London Underground. SL20 was a three-year project involving the replacement of track circuits at 34 locations across the network to enable London Underground's new 'S' stock trains to enter passenger service on the Metropolitan line and District lines in late 2009.
The overall Immunization Program was set against an aggressive timeline to support London Undergrounds requirements for the 'S' stock introduction. Each site was additionally constrained by scheduled network closures (commissioning dates) which could not be moved.
As the program ramped up into the initial Installation phase, scope changes and on-site modifications were proving costly, the fluctuation of resources across the installation activities were proving difficult to manage/forecast and coupled with the late arrival of critically dependant deliverables, the ability to Install and Test each site in time to meet the commissioning deadlines was proving challenging.
The Invensys Senior Management Team recognized that to ensure success, an alternative approach was required.
The Pcubed Solution
Pcubed was engaged in July 2008 to provide a project manager to take responsibility for delivering the onsite activities. The role would also be required to develop the existing processes to provide a robust and repeatable method for forecasting and demonstrating performance against plan.
As with many companies, Invensys rail already had an existing toolkit and set of guidelines to help deliver their onsite activities. By using this as the foundation, the cradle to grave process for Design - Install - Test and Commissioning was mapped out for each of the remaining sites. Existing experience within the team was used to forecast and baseline the assumptions for each site specifying resource requirements and associated material costs. By using feeds from the corporate time sheeting system and procurement data bases, graphics were developed to accurately demonstrate monthly progress against plan.
A change control process was then introduced to manage variations from design modifications, onsite requests from the clients, and changes to the program resulting from late or poor quality client deliverables. Not only did this process provide the narrative for effective performance against plan reporting, but it was also used to provide robust data for commercial discussions and claims at a later stage.
The deliverables for the engagement comprised of the following key elements:
- Full Project Management responsibilities for Installation site teams and sub contractors (circa 60 heads)
- Development of a fully resourced and cost base-lined program plan (Primavera P6)
- Implementation of a full change control process against the base-lined plan
- Full monthly program against plan reporting and budget controls introduced
- An evidence capture process to support client claims for change activities and applications for draw down from the risk budget.
By appointing a project manager responsible for the Installation activities, the spend on the project was quickly reigned in and controlled. Once the actual spend on installation activities was understood properly, measures to reduce it while minimizing the effect on delivery could be taken.
The processes improvements introduced provided an agile and flexible method of dealing with ad-hoc requests for change and modeling 'what if' scenarios against a fixed baseline.
The planning and change control processes introduced were rolled out on other areas of the program and have now become a legacy part of the monthly Project Delivery Review activities within Invensys.
The speed and frequency of the immunization schedule on the SL20 project was unparalleled within Invensys and probably within the industry. Without the correct plans and controls in place, the successful delivery of this program would have been significantly threatened and the likelihood of Invensys incurring crippling liquidated damage costs or delays to passenger service would have increased with potentially catastrophic financial and reputational consequences.