CHANGE CONTROL FOR A RAIL INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT
This project was a part of a larger programme with the purpose of upgrading the railway lines between two major UK cities. These upgrades were required for minimising journey times, increasing train capacity and electrifying segments of the route. The project was in the early GRIP (the methodology for rail infrastructure projects in the UK) stages when our team entered. There was little control over change, partly due to the cost reimbursable nature of the contract, which led to an attitude of “do it now, put a change in later” which was decreasing morale. The project’s goals were constantly shifting and changing which resulted in distrust between members of the programme partnership. As the project matured, there was a clear need for a comprehensive and thorough change control process.
Our team were tasked with creating an applied change control process which would allow changes to be accepted or rejected pro-actively and collectively rather than reactively, in which the only option was to accept. This change control process established levels of delegated authority within the governance hierarchy to decide at what levels changes could be authorised. The process respected the importance of needing to be proactive in issue resolution but understood the need for restraint on certain issues. Change registers were then established to record, track and measure change against their respective baselined workstreams.
- Changes transitioned to a collective decision to authorise the change, then execute as opposed to recording the change retrospectively once it had already been administered.
- Increased confidence amongst members of the programme partnership in knowing what was occurring internally within the projects.
- Implementation plans were put into motion so that all relevant baseline information could be updated to reflect new baseline positions.
It is important to note that these results were not achieved without challenges. It took time for the partnership members to change habits formed in the early stages of the project; for the first few months since the change process was in place, many individuals needed to be reminded to put the change through the new relevant process. This involved not only teaching the members about the new change control process but also shaping their attitudes.