S E C T O R  I N S I G H T  

Sue explains that the majority of Network Rail’s business activity, around 70 per cent, is project-based. She highlights the diversity of projects, portfolios and programmes in which Network Rail is involved, ranging in size, complexity and economic value from multi-billion megaprojects such as HS2, Thameslink and Crossrail, to maintaining the majority of Britain’s railway with wear-and-tear renewals, remodelling of station areas or changing bulbs in signals, to smaller ‘back office’ projects such as the change management of processes.

Looking to the future, Sue predicts that project budgets in the rail industry will be slightly lower in three years’ time, driven by year-on-year efficiency drives. Historically, investment in the railway has been low – regardless of government spend – and it has never been high on the agenda for investment. Sue explains the tension between consistently low investment and the increase in efficiency drives which will affect project budgets. However, “there is a drive to deliver performance and you cannot do that without professional project managers,” she says.

When asked what she thought of this study’s baseline estimate of the contribution of project management to the economic output of the UK and number’s employed, Sue’s reaction was:

“These figures are impressive as they highlight the importance of the role, of being a project manager in itself. There are probably a lot more people who are project managers that are not included in that FTE figure. It shows how important it is, the value of a good project manager on a project makes a massive difference, so it’s interesting to see the figures..”

Sue Millington
Programme Manager, Network Rail

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