With such a vastly complex project to be built in an operational environment with multiple stakeholders and interfaces with other programme elements the project required up-to-date information to be readily available, in a consistent format so that management decisions can be made from a ‘well informed’ position.
The virtues of good visualisation have long been understood within the rail industry and the route businesses each have their own ways of capturing information pertinent to their business areas; London Bridge Station Redevelopment was swift to adopt the practice into its management arrangements. In summary the intent of establishing the visualisation suite was to:
- Standardise the management approach – through use of information displayed
- Drive performance-focused behaviours – by focus on the actions required to deliver results
- Recognise the abnormal conditions – by delays or concerns being clearly visible
- Facilitate effective prioritised planning – by common understanding of current status
- Drive true problem understanding & resolution – by analysis of facts.
As a principle the approach has been adopted throughout the course of the project, and has been adapted to suit the changing environment throughout the lifecycle of the project. For example, in the central stages of the project the focus was on construction but more so for tracking the progress and readiness of the vital migration of over 400 operational staff from the Tooley Street offices into the new accommodation block in the station in August 2016; whereas latterly as the construction site reduced and the access became more challenging, the focus shifted to the management of defects and outstanding work elements with their varying levels of technical and operational complexity.
The benefits of adopting visualisation on the project were the ability to understand:
- The current overall status – using the RAG system, Red, Amber, Green
- What top issues or risks have been identified
- What actions are proposed to manage or mitigate these
- Who the action owner is
- When action is planned be undertaken by
- What the status is on the action
Although the visualisation centre changed and relocated throughout the course of the project, it was vitally important that a member of the management team was responsible for the board’s content to ensure that it was updated on a weekly basis to enable the progress meetings and reporting to be established around a common set of data. Typically, the boards were initially set up under the project’s key disciplines:
- Safety performance (Lost time injury frequency rates, accident or significant event investigation status, metrics for safety initiatives, close calls, safety conversations, innovations etc)
- Commercial performance (Status on the commercial KPIs, ERIs, risk, payments, contractual correspondence)
- Programme (i.e. schedule adherence, float remaining)
- Design (i.e. status of design production, reviews and submission forms)
- Development (Station operational development, station change process, industry stakeholder information, training and familiarisation, retail)
- Operational migration (People process for the relocation of operational teams to the station accommodation block)
- Engineering (Quality, NCR status etc)
- Entry Into Service (EIS) & handback (Status of progressive assurance, handback deliverables)
- Consents & environmental (i.e Local Authority, Highways & Residents)
- Top Issues.
Some examples of a panel in the visualisation centre during the construction phase:
Figure 1 (above): Grip 5 Design Panel, 2015
Figure 2 (above): Operational Migration Panel, 2016
Figure 3 (above): Weekly Visualisation Report
Figure 4 (above): Information flow through Visualisation Suite through Project Hierarchy
The visualisation centre was placed under the control of content manager whose role it was to ensure that the boards owners were prompted to update their content to enable a weekly report to be generated which could then in turn, feed into the weekly project governance meetings.