Major rail improvement project

Rail upgrade

Collaborative planning to achieve target blockade time

The challenge

The main subcontractor for a major rail improvement project, needed to shave 1.4 days off the planned works in order to achieve a 10 day blockade target.

This critical phase of the rail upgrade comprises the removal of old track, demolition of an existing station, connecting a new ‘offline’ station, building a link road, a level crossing upgrade and the test and commission of all systems.

Our response

Working with a team of people, representing each of the 13 different contractors on the project, we facilitated a number of collaborative planning sessions.

Initially the team mapped out the blockade period. They started by studying the original P6 base plan to identify any gaps and sequencing problems. The team then agreed potential solutions to these issues and started creating a large, visual, interactive plan on the programme control room wall.

The team worked back from the end point, following the key sequence of works, or critical path, and analysed each activity for duration and interdependencies. The work for the blockade was rescheduled inside the 10 day window and additionally released 6 hours which was allocated for contingencies.

In order to create the right conditions for the blockade to proceed smoothly, the team repeated the collaborative planning process for the make ready works, leading up to the blockade. They identified a 13 day over run.

Again, using collaborative planning techniques and structured problem solving methods the team were able to reschedule the work required within the available time frame.

The results

Within 2 weeks the team created a plan that met the business needs, eliminating the planned overruns on both the blockade, 1.4 days, and the preparatory make ready work, 13 days.

In order to build on this initial success we facilitated a Lessons Leaned workshop after the blockade, to check actual performance against plan. As a result the plan for the next phase of the upgrade benefits from the knowledge gained during deployment of the first plan.

This cycle of Plan, Do, Check and Act forms the basis for developing a continuous improvement culture and will be used by the team over the duration of the 8 year framework.

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Major rail upgrade collaborative planning

"Within 2 weeks the team created a plan that met the business needs, eliminating the planned overruns on both the blockade and the preparatory make ready work "

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