UCL News


UCL in the News: Complex project management: Notes from the Underground

24 July 2007

Last week's collapse into administration of Metronet, the special purpose vehicle renovating two-thirds of the London Underground, has renewed the controversy over the use of public-private partnerships (PPPs) for large public infrastructure projects.

"PPPs are programmes comprising many different projects. They require a different perspective from standard project management," says Andrew Edkins [UCL Bartlett School], course director for an Interdisciplinary Management of Projects MSc at UCL. "In project management the priority is to deliver within the set budget and timescale to the right specification. Management of projects is more holistic - you have to start at the front end, looking at where the client wants to get to." …

The complexity of PPP contracts and the scale of work they involve means, in Edkins' experience, "clients always have the right to change their minds, and a degree of uncertainty is inevitable. Conventional project management doesn't like this. Its standard procedures and software help with delivering specific tasks, but not with strategy - management of projects has to go beyond factual information into the human and organisational side." …

Alan Shipman, 'Finance Week'