The Curse of Project Management

The upgrade of London Underground’s Jubilee Line by Tube Lines, a private contractor, is facing serious problems. This article examines similarities between the problems with the Jublilee Line and other major rail infrastructure projects. The difficulties faced on the Jubilee Line upgrade are not dissimilar to those faced by the recent West Coast Main Line (WCML) construction and the modernization of the Glasgow Underground in the 1970s. At the heart of all the problematic projects are misconceptions about scope. Tube Lines appears to have seen the Jubilee Line project predominantly as a matter of using cables and computers that had been proved to work elsewhere in the existing infrastructure. There was too little appreciation of how much modification would be needed to make the new signaling work. The sources of the problems on the Glasgow Underground and WCML projects were similar. All the projects also suffered from poor relationships between stakeholders as well as unrealistic externally-imposed project timetables. Projects’ problems can, nevertheless, be resolved. In the cases of the Glasgow Underground and the WCML projects, the resolution required one determined individual or group to seize control of the project.


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  • Accession Number: 01153313
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 30 2010 10:55PM