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Should The Programme & Project Management Experiences From The High Speed 1 Programme Have An Effect On The Way That The Current High Speed 2 Programme Is Being Managed?

Abstract

This study focused on evaluating whether the outcomes of HS1 should influence the management of HS2. The High Speed 1 (HS1), which is legally known as the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL), is a high-speed railway that is 108 kilometres long and runs from London to the end of the Channel Tunnel (Chang, 2013).

The line is used for carrying international passenger traffic and connecting the United Kingdom and Continental Europe. It is also used by domestic passenger traffic plying to and from east London and Kent, and the Berne gauge freight traffic.

 

The study showed that management and implementation of HS1 were focused on ensuring that quality was achieved from the start of the project to ensure effective delivery.

The contractors designed a project-specific quality strategy from the existing best practices of the consortium member companies (Davies et al., 2014). The strategy was then submitted within the agreed period of three months after the concession was awarded.

The partners in the consortium incorporated their experience and knowledge of project methodology (such as PMBOK and PRINCE2) in the documents submitted. It was done to prove their competency and ability to implement the project as required.

On the other hand, HS2 is a programme that requires innovative approaches and high performance for the project to be delivered successfully since there is a need to ensure new standards are achieved in the delivery of the infrastructure, passenger experience, as well as resilient operations of the line (Kubitscheck, 2016).

Analysis showed that the strategies formulated and implemented in HS1 should influence the approaches used in HS2. This is because the approaches and strategies formulated and implemented during HS1 contributed to the effective implementation and management of the Programme.

The project was implemented in compliance with the requirements of the DfT and Over Site Development Strategy. The project was also completed and delivered within the required time and the allocated budget.

Introduction to HS1 Programme and Its Context

The High Speed 1 (HS1), which is legally known as the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL), is a high-speed railway that is 108 kilometres long and runs from London to the end of the Channel Tunnel (Chang, 2013). The line is used for carrying international passenger traffic and connecting the United Kingdom and Continental Europe.

It is also used by domestic passenger traffic plying to and from east London and Kent, and the Berne gauge freight traffic. The line terminates at St Pancras International Station, located on the northern side of central London; it crosses the River Medway and passes under the River Thames before it terminates (Bridgland et al., 2013).

The entire project’s construction cost a total of £5.8 and it was launched on 14 November 2007. Trains using section 1 (the Channel Tunnel heading to Fawkham Junction) are used to travel at speeds of up to 186 mph (300 km/h).

In comparison, those using section 2 (running from Ebbsfleet International to London St Pancras) are authorized to run at speeds of up to 143 mph (230 km/h) (Bridgland et al., 2013). Intermediate stations are located at Ashford International in Kent, Stratford International in London, and Ebbsfleet International Station in Kent.

One of the outstanding features of the project was its effective management and implementation. The project management contract to construct the high-speed rail that runs between London and the Channel Tunnel in the United Kingdom was awarded to SYSTRA Consulting Inc. (Chau et al. 2012).

The line’s construction was aimed at enabling the provision of a more reliable and faster link between Continental Europe and the United Kingdom and increasing the rail capacity in South-Eastern England through eliminating Eurostar traffic on the conventional network.

This was considered an informed decision as it would ease transport and connection between Continental Europe and the United Kingdom (Chau et al. 2012).

Further, the line was considered an effective way of creating a new and high-quality service for commuters operating between London and Kent and implementing extensive economic development programs and urban renovations around the stations on the line, and St Pancras where the line terminated.

This implies that the line was also aimed at improving urbanization and economic growth in the stations lying along the line, and at its start and terminating points.

SYSTRA Consulting Inc. proved effective in managing the construction and implementation of the project through its involvement in offering design and construction engineering services such as track and catenary, structures, control-command, signalling, and power supply (Smith and Zhou, 2018).

The company also offered supervision of the overall construction work, designing, and implementing the test program and ensuring its acceptance and commissioning. It was also actively involved in preparing the maintenance program for the new high-speed line.

 

Evaluation of the overall project management showed that SYSTRA Consulting Inc. was effective, as the overall project was successful (Rothengatter, 2010).

The company was responsible for all tasks, including operation, civil engineering, track and catenary, high voltage power supply, signalling, St Pancras station, operational safety and security, preparing the maintenance program, and environmental issues.

However, the project faced various challenges such as delay in delivery, environmental issues like air pollution and the budget allocated had to be adjusted.

The HS1 program is important to HS1 because HS2 is considered an extension of HS1 (Hall, 2012). HS1 formed the basis for HS2 since HS2 seeks to extend and reach out to more stations.

It also seeks to enhance transport in regions that HS1 did not cover. Further, HS1 is important as it acted as a point-out to the average cost of constructing a high speed line, the challenges expected, and what effective implementation of the program would imply (Hebbert, 2014). Implementation of HS2 is compared to HS1 to assess its efficiency and the expected level of performance of the contractors.

Description of HS2 and its Management

HS2 is a proposed project that focuses on constructing a high-speed rail line running from London to Manchester and Leeds (Flyvbjerg 2014).

The line will also pass through Birmingham and its operation is expected to commence in 2026 and be completed in 2033. The Labour Government supported the initiative to construct the infrastructure after 2009, and the Conservatives in government have supported the idea since May 2010.

The project will be delivered in three phases; the first phase, Phase 1, will run from London Euston to Birmingham Curzon Street and Lichfield, and it will have intermediate stations located at Birmingham Airport, West London (to be located at Old Oak Common) (Preston, 2012).

The second phase, Phase 2a, will run from the West Midlands and terminate at Crewe. The third phase, Phase 2b, will comprise an eastern leg running from the West Midlands and terminating at Leeds New Lane.

Phase 2b will have intermediate stations in South Yorkshire and East Midlands and a western leg connecting Crewe and Manchester and an intermediate station to be located at Manchester Airport.

As mentioned earlier, HS2 is an extension of HS1 and will be expected to connect more stations and towns in the United Kingdom (Preston, 2012). This will provide faster transport to commuters working in the areas to be served by the high-speed rail line.

Construction of the entire project was expected to cost £55.7 billion in 2015. Although the program has received massive support from all parties in Parliament, it has remained controversial outside (Aydalot and Keeble, 2018).

Opponents of the project cite its economic and environmental implications, with some claiming that it is too expensive for the country and that its construction will lead to pollution. Further, there is a need to ensure that the management and implementation of the project are successful.

 

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Analysis of HS1 and HS2 Programme Management

Management and Implementation of HS1

Management and implementation of HS1 were focused on ensuring that quality was achieved from the start of the project to ensure effective delivery. The contractors designed a project-specific quality strategy from the existing best practices of the consortium member companies (Davies et al., 2014).

The strategy was then submitted within the agreed period of three months after the concession was awarded. The partners in the consortium incorporated their experience and knowledge of project methodology (such as PMBOK and PRINCE2) in the documents submitted. This was done to prove their competency and ability to implement the project as required.

The project manager of HS1 was RLE, and the quality approach used was part of the overall execution plan drawn up by the client (RL).

The quality strategy aimed to ensure that quality was defined and measurable, and that processes were established and implemented to ensure and demonstrate conformance (Dodgson et al., 2015).

The approach included audits and surveillance activities as an independent check to ensure that the client’s defined requirements were achieved. The UR execution strategy was directly linked to a separately specified Health, safety and Environment (HSE) plan.

The HSE strategy ensured that all relevant statutory safety and environmental requirements were met with due regard so that risks were reduced to a level that was as low as reasonably possible. This is illustrated below.
image 1
The consortium used the quality policy statement to establish the quality commitments of the project, including its compliance with ISO 9001 (Albalate and Bel, 2012).

On the other hand, the quality strategy spelt out the project’s compliance with the relevant development agreement requirements. The quality plan drawn by RLE was characterized by detailed instructions and procedures and contractor quality plans. RLE procedures complied with the UR procedures (Albalate and Bel, 2012). The documentation, aimed at ensuring quality implementation of the project, included the following;

  • Audit programs.
  • RLE procedures for self-certification by the contractors.
  • Procedures to ensure process quality control.
  • Inspection and test plans.
  • Vendor assessments.

The RLE head of quality was tasked with inspecting and monitoring the progress of all aspects of the systems and strategy mentioned above and being in charge of the overall audit process of the project.

The head of quality was also granted direct access, whenever required, to the managing director of UR (Rodrigue, 2016). The RLE was the project manager and was thus tasked with certifying that all the works and procedures that were included in the contract were achieved and completed to standard.

This was done before the client, UR, took over the works two weeks later. UR’s procedures were followed in controlling this Client Acceptance Process (CAP).

The fulfilment of the CAP also mandated the head of quality to certify compliance so as the Permit to Use (PtU) would be achieved (Rodrigue, 2016).

This showed that the head of quality played a crucial role in ensuring effective management and implementation of the HS1 project. The overall outcome of the rail line was that it was successful.

Another crucial aspect of the HS1 project that contributed to its successful implementation was auditing. The management systems audit of the project involved three audit processes (Dredge, 2018).

The audit also aimed at ensuring environmental and quality, safety, and health audits, as outlined below.

  • Level 1 Audits; this was designed to audit management systems related to major contractors and senior management. This was done by auditors from the contractor’s corporate, UR, and RLE corporate organizations (Dredge, 2018).
  • Level 2 Audits were designed to audit management control systems related to associated RLE middle management and subcontractors. It was done by auditors from RLE and contractors (Dredge, 2018).
  • Central Audits; internal auditors did this from RLE to audit the design and procurement processes followed in the project.

All the audits conducted were well-defined and involved practices that were supported by various detailed process charts in three primary stages;

  • Programming and planning.
  • Implementation/execution (Dredge, 2018).
  • Follow-up and closeout.

The key stages involved in the audit process for all types of audits are shown in the simplified flow diagram shown below.

image 2

The performance management of the project was ideally centred on the key progress reports such as the RLE progress report and the URN executive report (Greiman, 2013).

The accounts were applied in isolated KPIs to help the project managers and team in monitoring performance in progress, safety, risks, costs, as well as audits and quality assurance.

The project team gave safety the highest priority during the project management and dealt with safety measures first. The two KPIs for ensuring safety were Lost Time Accidents (LTA) and Accident Frequency Rate (AFR).

The indicators of both LTA and AFR were measured by the project group as well as by the electrical, site, rail, and plan (Peterman et al., 2012). This was done to ensure that the performance and management of the project were effective and that the set goals and objectives were achieved.

Management of the project was effective and the performance management systems of the project were operated throughout the entire implementation process.

The project team used the existing best practices to design a project-specific management system, which was then submitted to the government. This also ensured that the project was implemented as per the set standards and that it would be economical and safe for use once it was completed.

H2 Project

Construction of the high-Speed Rail Line 2 was an idea that was mainly supported by the secretary of State for Transport. The aim of the rail line was to develop a high-speed rail network in the United Kingdom to link London to Midlands (Campos and De Rus, 2009).

The project will be funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK’s government. The project is considered an extension of the HS1, but it will be the largest infrastructure programme in Europe once it is completed.

Completion of the infrastructure programme will also ensure that a dedicated high-speed rail line connects London to Birmingham and its Phase 1 is expected to start operations in 2026 (Renne, 2016).

This will then extend to Crewe by 2027 through Phase 2a and then follow a Y-shaped route through to Manchester in the West as well as Leeds in the East, starting operations in 2033; this will be Phase 2b.

This will result in HS2 providing frequent, fast, and reliable connections between more than 100 towns and cities in the UK, and it will connect some of the largest cities in the country (Renne, 2016).

The programme is also expected to boost economic growth in the country by opening up local and regional markets in the area, attracting foreign and domestic investment, and improving employment opportunities for thousands of people in the UK.

It will also add crucial capacity to the network as it will enable 300,000 commuters to use train services each day. It will also reduce traffic in other routes and thus improve commuter and freight services.

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Management of HS2 Programme

HS2 is a programme that requires innovative approaches and high performance for the project to be delivered successfully since there is a need to ensure new standards are achieved in the delivery of the infrastructure, passenger experience, as well as resilient operations of the line (Kubitscheck, 2016).

The key to ensuring that the project is delivered successfully is ensuring excellence in project development; this is achieved through a well-developed and planned project to help in reducing risks and increasing certainty of successful delivery and implementation of the project and its operation (Kubitscheck, 2016).

The contractor is given the contract of constructing the infrastructure programme also needs to ensure that the final project satisfies all the governance requirements that are imposed by the Department for Transport (DfT) and the wider requirements of the Major Projects Authority (MPA) and Her Majesty’s Treasury (HMT).

The strategic importance and complexity of HS2 also require a strong and reliable sponsorship internal function to be introduced if the project is to be implemented successfully (Lock and Wagner, 2016).

Some of the functions that must be implemented include the provision of a clear strategic input and direction in establishing the sponsorship function of the project and ensuring that it is aligned to the strategy of the organization, strategic support when developing metrics and reporting to ensure there is alignment among external and internal stakeholders, as well as successful implementation of Phase One stations to safeguard the wider benefits of the programme.

Notably, these outcomes required in HS2 have already been achieved in HS1. During the implementation of HS1, an Internal Sponsorship Team was set up by the contractor to ensure that the benefits and objectives of the project are safeguarded (House of Commons Transport Committee, 2011).

Further, a single coordinating control point was established for the purpose of ensuring that the appropriate delivery mandates were given to the programme and that the benefits were not compromised by the strategic changes.

The control point secured harmonization and definition of the requirements, ensuring that the expectations of both the stakeholder and client were aligned.

The objective of the HS1 was also achieved by ensuring that key strategic steering groups were set up and they were fully functional House of Commons Transport Committee, 2011.

The groups were composed of representations drawn from all the main stakeholders, and they were tasked with tracking and monitoring the implementation of the project to ensure that it complies with the Development Agreement obligations as well as the relevant processes.

The approaches and strategies formulated and implemented during HS1 contributed to the effective implementation and management of the Programme. The project was implemented in compliance with the requirements of the DfT and Over Site Development Strategy. The project was also completed and delivered within the required time and the allocated budget.

Conclusions

The aim of this study was to evaluate whether or not the outcomes of the management of HS1 should affect the manner in which HS2 is managed. According to the findings of this study, it can be deduced that HS1 was implemented effectively; the project was completed within the allocated time and budget, and met the expectations of the stakeholders.

The programme was a mega infrastructure project that is comparable to HS2. Therefore, management of HS2 should be done in the same approach in which HS1 was done.

This is because HS2 is expected to serve a vast region and population, and the government will invest heavily in it. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the project is effective, successful, meets the expectations of all stakeholders and is implemented in compliance with the relevant requirements.

It is also notable that HS2 will be equally important. The programme will help the government to develop a high-speed rail network in the United Kingdom to link London to Midlands. The project will be funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK’s government. The project is considered an extension of the HS1, but it will be the largest infrastructure programme in Europe once it is completed. Therefore, project management of HS2 should be as effective as HS1.

Recommendations

The findings of this research can be used to recommend management of HS2 be done in a similar manner as HS1. This will help in ensuring that HS2 is accomplished effectively and that the project milestones are covered and the expectations of the stakeholders are achieved.

As shown earlier, management and implementation of HS1 was focused on ensuring that quality was achieved from the start of the project to ensure effective delivery. The contractors designed a project-specific quality strategy from the existing best practices of the member companies of the consortium.

The strategy was then submitted within the agreed period of three months after the concession was awarded. The partners in the consortium incorporated their experience and knowledge of project methodology (such as PMBOK and PRINCE2) in the documents submitted. This was done to prove their competency and ability to implement the project as required. This approach should also be implemented in the case of HS2.

Further, the implementation of HS2 should incorporate auditing, just like in the case of HS1. In HS1, the quality strategy aimed to ensure that quality was defined and measurable and that processes were established and implemented to ensure and demonstrate conformance.

The approach included audits and surveillance activities as an independent check to ensure that the defined requirements of the client were achieved. The UR execution strategy was directly linked to a separately specified Health, safety and Environment (HSE) plan of the project.

The HSE strategy ensured that all relevant statutory safety and environmental requirements were met with due regard so that risks were reduced to a level that was as low as reasonably possible. Implementing this approach will ensure that the project is successful and that risks are reduced during the implementation of the project and during its use by commuters.

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