Managing the creation of the world’s largest, most complex, and high-profile rail programs of work in the built and natural environment today is tough — trust us, we know.
Budgets, supply chains, health and safety, timeframes, and the sheer numbers of stakeholders involved can be challenging for even the most experienced of Project Management Organisations (PMO). And it’s not getting any simpler; as construction programs grow more complex, often with multi-geography delivery, faster-paced schedules, new technologies, and changing and increased regulation, the risks are getting higher.
As longstanding experts in Project and Programme Management, Market Infra has developed a wealth of experience and knowledge in this sector over time. Here are the company’s top tips for Project Management success in rail:
Transfer from bid to delivery
A common mistake many organisations make when delivering a project is not utilising a hybrid team. Including members of the bid team in the delivery team allows for a seamless transfer of knowledge. As part of the tender period, it is common to undertake an element of solutions development. Transferring this knowledge to the operational delivery team is extremely important to ensure efficiencies and commitments are fulfilled. This allows the team to guarantee all deliverables detailed in the bid are implemented, allowing greater client satisfaction, and timely completion of key project milestones resulting in an effective mobilisation period. We would always advise including at least one member from your bid team in your mobilisation/delivery team.
Businesses often make the mistake of mobilising too soon. A better place to start is with a fundamental understanding of contract and resource requirements before anything else is considered. Planning resources both direct and subcontract are areas of high risk if not done correctly. It is also essential to establish common goals with teams and contractors: this helps drive the right behaviours for the project. Finally, It is critical to understand post-contract award changes and implement them into mobilisation plans.
Resourcing the project team
Clear communication between the client and resourcing department is key. Having open conversations on project timelines and labour required at each stage gives the resourcing department time to source suitable qualified labour as per the client’s expectations. Developing a clear delivery model from the outset is also key to project success. That way you can consider what resourcing is needed and what the recruitment strategy will be.
Cost control is arguably the pivotal part of any project, as it’s the glue that holds everything together and supports a profitable project. Always ensure that all costings are tracked in real-time and deal with any discrepancies promptly and efficiently as this will save both time and money. Always have a buffer fund or additional funding contingency in place as this will quickly and effectively absorb any extra costs that may be encountered along the way. This fund should also be able to cover any price increases that may occur throughout the project.
As a project comes to a close people often neglect to learn the lessons it offers as the pressure to move on to the next project or job mounts. However, reviewing the performance against the original budgets and objectives is important to give you an accurate measure of overall success. It also provides an opportunity to learn lessons and refine processes moving forward and make even marginal gains before the next project is undertaken. Finally, remember to give either positive or constructive feedback to the team involved in the project and of course, to celebrate your successes.