Transport for London is a local government body responsible for the transport systems in Greater London. They provide pan-organisational engineering support for all modes of transport on the network, both over and underground.
The engineering directorate employs around 1,500 staff across 43 engineering functional capabilities who support the delivery of activities as varied as Skylines to Track, Ferries to Signalling and Underground Vehicles to Cycle Superhighways.
Key stakeholders in the programme included the Director of Engineering, Chief Operating Officer in Engineering, and the Chief Technical Officer in Engineering, as well as the Engineering Leadership Team.
The project objective was to create and embed a robust governance process across Business Delivery Areas, Functional Capability Pools, Technical Innovation and Executive Integration, and to establish an Engineering Management Office [EMO] to support the organisation in the development of the Engineering Operating System [EOS].
Following a recent organisational transformation, TfL had struggled to create a governance process that could consistently measure and highlight both positive and negative performance levels within the main business areas [Engineering Delivery, Functional Capability and Capacity, Technical Innovation and Executive Integration], and facilitate a strategic or ‘tomorrow’ view from these business areas.
This hindered their understanding and identification of, and accountability for, the problem solving activities required to provide effective Engineering outcomes for the wider Pan-TfL Business. There was also a need to provide robust and consistent engineering solutions for the London Transport system. An Engineering Management Office [EMO] needed to be established in order to co-ordinate and confirm the deployment and development of the TfL Engineering Operating System [EOS].
To meet the challenge, Project7 adapted, embedded and sustained the governance rhythm and heartbeat of the Engineering Directorate through the creation of a robust structure. This structure enabled the delivery of customer and stakeholder requirements, and developed the capability and understanding of the engineering staff at all levels to enable them to produce consistent engineering professional services.
Project7 also developed, mapped, designed, drafted & defined the implementation for the new Resource Management System [RMS]: TfLE’s ‘Keystone’ process. This involved completing a draft set of step definitions, KPI metrics, process confirmation and support systems documentation.
The Governance methodology furnished the Directorate with:
- Consistent and robust performance reviews of the ‘Matrix’ management organisation with actionable outcomes.
- A robust data architecture that enabled the Directorate to trend performance and become more able to respond quickly and appropriately.
- Over 90% of the functional capability pools demonstrated consistent and repeatable understanding and control of their organisational structure, current and future demand, and capability requirements.
- All four areas established consistent understanding and control of their delivery performance, budget vs actual head count and costs, future demand, and customer change impact.
- Better understanding and control of the Technical Innovation team’s discipline, including current challenges and risks, and activities to support future
- Executive integration showed good understanding of current and future challenges within the directorate and co-ordinated the timely decision-making processes required to alleviate these challenges.
- Highlighted middle management talent, which will underpin the Directorate’s future growth.
- An improved change control process was introduced, delivering more accurate forecasting and resource delivery.
Crossrail Ltd is an £18+ Billion Programme delivering the Elizabeth line – a new railway for London and the South East, running from Reading and Heathrow in the west, through more than 42km of new tunnels under London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. The Elizabeth line will stop at 41 accessible stations and serve around 200 million people each year.
Key stakeholders from within the organisation included The Delivery Director for Stations, Shafts and Portals [SSP], 13 Project Managers, 13 Tier 1 Project Directors and several cross-functional Heads of Department. Sponsored by the CEO of Crossrail and the Programme Controls Director.
The project was to establish new ways of working to mitigate continual slippage in milestones and increasing cost month on month. Project7 facilitated a scan of current ways of working and then worked with key stakeholders to design and implement a Visual Performance Management/PMO along with problem solving tools and techniques to mitigate further slippage. The initial focus area in the construction programme was the Testing and Commissioning of 9 Stations and 11 shafts & portals.
I’d like to take chance to highlight that Project7’s team has been a great benefit to ROP helping to shape IDT reporting and sprint plans covering gaps we have in planning and reporting resource. I hope we can maintain his valuable contribution to ROP through to Handover.
– Kevin Brown | Project Manager Portals
During the scan phase, Project7 quickly identified that the current performance management methods were ineffective and did not always discuss date, the outcome of the existing data and how this impacted cost & schedule performance. Programme reviews occurred periodically, and slow decision making led to inadequate progress in delivering the testing & commissioning phase of construction and ultimately led to missing key milestones and increased cost. It was also clear that the organisation was working in silos, particularly in the cross-functional areas leading to poor communication of targets and alignment of priorities.
Project 7 was engaged in supporting all activities to design and implement a visual performance management system & problem-solving for the Programme and the next level down in 9 stations and 11 Shaft & Portals.
Project7 Teams worked directly with Stations, Shafts & Portals Delivery Director & Project Managers to design & implement a Visual Performance Management System [PMO] across 20 elements worth approximately £5 Billion. The solution consisted of 2 levels, with each site having effective daily performance management meetings and weekly Programme Level Performance reviews with Project Managers and Tier 1 Project Directors.
To enhance and augment the visual performance improvements, Project7 realised a problem-solving culture deploying specific Lean tools & techniques, enabling on-time delivery of critical milestones. The solution further addressed key underlying factors affecting project performance by breaking down cross-functional departments, eliminating a siloed working mentality, and creating conditions for open sharing, transparency, and collaboration.
Project 7 split the implementation process into five primary focus areas:
To create a Pilot Station understanding the current state and create consistent key metrics across all stations and rolled up through the Crossrail organisation. Additionally, to design a performance Management Centre and coach teams in problem-solving tools & techniques.
Using the pilot station visual management centre rollout to all locations within SSP and providing leadership coaching and implement the appropriate problem-solving tools & techniques.
To design and implement a visual performance management centre (PMO) for Programme wide Performance management. Including all 20 elements with PMs, Tier 1 Project Directors and Cross-functional teams for a weekly performance review.
To provide coaching and knowledge transfer to the organisation to enable them to continue developing the system and to start active problem-solving using standardised tools and techniques.
To roll up performance across 20 elements to report to the next level up and create robust metrics for board reports & government dashboards weekly rather than periodically.
- Using defined metrics that are reviewed daily / weekly in structured Performance Management Meetings, each element can provide predictive outcomes for milestone dates and communicate this effectively throughout the Crossrail Organisation.
- Data-driven and fast-paced decision making with all the right people attending each Performance Management Meeting, for example, Cross-functional heads, line-wide system teams and routeway construction.
- Visible performance management became Business as Usual and now generates excellent cross-functional practices, and historical silos are now broken down and aligned to critical deliverables/milestone dates.
- The first two portals were handed over to the infrastructure maintainer and operator on time, optimising resource application to other critical areas and supporting subsequent work packages.
Our client’s task was to design, test, and implement a performance improvement modification package, in order to mitigate potential additional costs through compensation payments for technical issues, breach of contract, or any other operation “shop visit” costs.
These potential costs can be substantial, and in order to avoid incurring them, the client needed to complete the programme in roughly half the time a similar programme would take.
According to a high-level estimate, the financial benefit of reducing the expected programme duration was estimated to be around $3.2 million (£2.6 million) per week.
P7 were engaged to assist in the optimisation of the production output due to their focus on involving team members in the process. This is an essential element of the P7 principle of “People + Process = Performance”.
The client’s main challenge was that their in-service product was not achieving the targeted design cycles, which led to increased maintenance at shorter intervals, leading to an increase in costs.
Additional costs were incurred from contractual penalties whenever time on wing requirements were not met. A previous Master Project Plan, based on benchmarking to similar programmes, overran by 24 months, and ended with limited understanding of the overall programme impact.
Additionally, there were no controls over the loading of tasks to teams or team members, meaning there was no way to measure efficiency or contribution. There was also a lack of transparency within the design and engineering environment in terms of priorities, performance and status, and an overall lack of understanding and control of cross-department interdependencies. There was an issue with the disparity with understanding between teams, and contribution of each team over geographical locations.
The client’s objective was to provide a solution that addressed these problems, whilst developing a new approach to programme management, and a resulting culture shift that could be adopted by other priority programmes.
There were 3 steps to the solution P7 developed with the client:
Step 1 – to analyse and challenge the existing project plan, in order to bring the project cycle within the contractual timeframe.
Vertical Value Stream Mapping [VVSM] facilitated working sessions with the integrated project team in order to identify the major decisions to be made, and to increase right-first-time capability whilst reducing lead time. The aim was to optimise learning in the early project stages in order to reduce risk throughout the project life cycle.
Value Stream Analysis identified and prioritised the components that drive the project completion date back, and to analyse and challenge the current planning to create tangible lead times for product testing and manufacturing. It also enabled us to identify non-value adding process steps and eliminate idle time.
An Integrated Master Schedule [IMS] was developed for team-level planning. Links to related activities were provided, and critical pathways were defined. Planning platform P6 Primavera was introduced, and the milestones were linked to the defined activities to create the planning rules framework.
Rolling Wave “Sprint” Planning Cycles enabled more granular planning over Sprint periods, making it possible to define tasks by teams and individuals on a daily basis. This planning cycle also has the additional benefits of regular alignment and calibration of the complex team structures. Teams have full inclusion and responsibility within the Sprint cycles.
Task Allocation and Management using LeanKit was also implemented, wherein tasks are assigned to the individual and linked to the broader team, and can be managed in several ways including start date, due date and hours forecast. This enables work loading and levelling, which contributes to the overall requirements.
Data can be extracted from both Primavera and LeanKit to support the performance management of the project from a micro to macro level. The integration of project plans and tasks into digital platforms supported the global alignment, inclusion, and management of the project teams.
Step 2 – to design and implement the Management Operating System [MOS] to engage and lead the teams towards achieving the project objectives on time.
Tiered Visual Performance Management [TVPM] created a place for candid conversations. The project objectives are cascaded in the TVPM, alongside associated KPIs, both vertically and horizontally within the project organisation. Daily progress reviews were conducted with individuals, teams and departments. Project status at a glance made identifying delays, inhibitors and priorities transparent, as well as supporting action, responsibility and timing. The TVPM also instilled accountability through all organisational levels.
An Escalation Procedure was implemented, in which escalation triggers were defined in order to better recognise raise and respond to abnormalities.
A Standard Diary for the project calibrated and aligned the governance structure throughout the project team structure. The Diary included meeting structures in order to optimise overall meeting efficiency.
Process Confirmation created leadership habitual confirmation routines in order to provide regular opportunities for go-look-see, employee engagement and coaching. Vital elements that are critical to programme success were confirmed on a team rotational basis.
The LeanKit task hopper fed into the TVPM system, which was linked to the planning Sprints and IMS. The teams met daily to allocate tasks form the hopper and measure the task burndown during the Sprint period. The KPIs within the system also accounted for quality and people measures.
The TVPM platform was the foundation for leadership to influence behaviours, expectations and deliverables within the company.
Step 3 – to coach and mentor the project and programme managers in how to use the MOS system
effectively. This was done using the 5 Step Knowledge Transfer process:
Identify and notify the individuals to engage with the targeted Knowledge Transfer process.
Explain the process steps and methodology.
Train the Principles, Systems and Tools related to the chosen subject matter. Demonstrate the
process and associated behaviours to the trainee [this is done at the Gemba, in the workplace
where the work is done].
Let the trainee practise under guidance from the coach in a safe environment to apply their
learning and experiment with their behaviour and expected outcomes.
Allow the trainee to stand alone in the application of the subject matter. The coach conducts
Process Confirmation to ensure the capability is embedded and sustainable.
Capability development is transferred to the incumbent organisation to ensure structured talent
management is ongoing and habitual. The preferred methodology is based around the TGROW
The TGROW approach encourages a structured, regular coaching dialogue with the trainee. It is
made up of 5 elements:
- Will to commit
The project was implemented over a 10-month period, with specialist resources deployed relative
to the step. Step 1 took place during the first 3 months of the project. Step 2 took place during
months 2-4, while step 3 lasted from month 2 through to project completion at month 10.
39% increase in Sprint Period task completion
29% increase in milestone completion
31% reduction in days overrun (and 11% decrease in equivalent hours)