Crossrail IT PMO Set-up
Author: Dr Isao Matsumoto
Publication Date: 14/03/2017
This micro report provides an outline of some of the key functions carried out by the IT Project Management Office (PMO) team at Crossrail covering lessons learned around Governance, Procurement, Reporting and Managing Change.
It would be of use to senior management involved in IT projects, IT Portfolio, Programme and Project Managers and PMO teams.
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Crossrail is Europe’s largest construction project tasked with the delivery of the new Elizabeth line that will bring an extra 1.5 million people to within 45min of central London, from Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east to Heathrow and Reading in the west.
The dynamic and temporary nature of the Crossrail construction project from the initial designs, to the construction and testing of the new railway has required a scalable IT setup to address the rapid growth of the business as it moved from the design to construction phase of the project, and also the eventual downsizing of the business at the end of the project. Supporting the changing business needs, at each of the different phases of the Crossrail project, has lead to a purpose built largely stand-alone capability being adopted, not restricted by legacy systems, which uses IT infrastructure and applications that are dedicated to the task of building the new railway.
To support the delivery of the Crossrail construction project, the IT team, is a dedicated team of about twenty five people, who are supported by an outsourcing relationship with Fujitsu, Bentley Systems and HCL Axon. It supports a diverse user base of approximately 2,000 users at over forty sites around London.
Delivering IT Projects and Programmes
Implementing, upgrading and decommissioning IT infrastructure and systems to meet the changing needs of the business has been a constant challenge with limited time, resources and budgets. With these limitations, having an efficient and effective process that can be consistently applied to identifying, reviewing and delivering all IT projects and programmes is essential.
The IT PMO team, a team of three at its peak, has been central to ensuring processes are followed and reported against. Supporting the IT Leadership team and business with regular and consistent reporting to review, prioritise and approve new projects that support strategic business goals and monitoring project progress and delivery is within the agreed funding and delivery plans.
As soon as a new business requirement needing an IT project or programme to be established is identified, the IT Leadership team are immediately made aware of the request by the IT PMO team and asked for their initial consent to move forwards with the request. All projects and programmes then have to provide the PMO with a Business Case that is reviewed and signed off the by the IT Leadership team and Business Budget Holders to secure the necessary funding. Once the funding is approved the PMO is also responsible for liaising with the Finance team to ensure the project and ongoing support/maintenance/hosting costs are transferred to the IT budget.
With each new approved project or programme the PMO focus would immediately turn to providing guidance on the procurement process and ensuring all procurement processes are followed, where a new supplier is needed. The options available to engage with a new supplier range from a full competitive OJEU procurement process, for procurement requirements greater than £347K, to use existing TfL/Government framework agreements, or a single tender action process for procurement requirements less than £347K, supported by the Procurement Team.
With all the suppliers in place, either new or existing, and with the funding agreed, the PMO on a periodic basis works with the Project Manager to monitor progress and financial spend. Monitoring the Project RAG Status, Cost of Work Done (COWD) and ensuring the Anticipated Final Cost (AFC) and planned end date does not change would be the minimum requirement for all Project Managers to provide the PMO with. However, for larger projects more comprehensive status reports would be required and submitted to the PMO on a monthly basis.
The PMO with all project and programme information is then responsible for collating and summarising the project information including risk and issues and reporting this to the IT Leadership team, and the business, in the board reports on a regular periodic basis.
In addition, to monitor progress and financial spend, the PMO team is also responsible for ensuring all invoices are processed.
Monitoring project delivery, the PMO is responsible for ensuring Project Mangers submit a variation request for any changes to the budget, schedule or scope and that these are escalated and approved. In addition, the PMO is also responsible for ensuring the Project Managers complete and submit a bespoke Change Implementation Plan (CIP) to the Change Advisory Board (CAB) for approval, and that before any system goes live, the Change Owner and Acceptance into Service Manager conduct a Go/No-Go meeting with all relevant stakeholders.
Having the IT PMO team in place has greatly helped with the consistent and efficient delivery of IT projects by facilitating and maintaining:
- a comprehensive view of all projects and programmes
- enforcing effective processes
- providing guidance, regular reporting
- informed decision making.
Justifying investment in new business solutions as we approach the end of Crossrail has become more difficult with shorter pay back durations.
Consistent monitoring and regular reporting of progress allows issues to be quickly identified, escalated and decisions made.
Recommendations for Future Projects
- Establish the IT PMO team as soon as possible.
- Work with the IT Leadership team, Project Managers and Suppliers to establish simple and effective processes that can be easily adopted and implemented.
- Ensure clear reporting lines and escalation paths with the IT Leadership Team and the business as a whole.
- Setup and maintain a regular weekly/monthly reporting and meeting schedule with the IT Leadership team, Project Managers and Suppliers.
Isao is the Senior Project & Portfolio Manager, responsible for managing the IT PMO and Project Management team. Drawing on over 20 years’ experience in the construction industry, focusing on optimising the end to end IT project delivery process, ensuring appropriate governance structures and processes are in place and followed. This experience has allowed him to support the IT team and the business to review and prioritise IT projects inline with the strategic business goals and efficiently deliver approved IT projects on time and on budget with relevant and consistent reporting metrics.