How Threon supports TUC RAIL in optimizing its project delivery

Specialized engineering company TUC RAIL offers expertise throughout the full railway project lifecycle, from feasibility studies and works supervision to testing and validation of infrastructure. Of course, while managing this many different projects, it isn’t always easy to maintain a clear overview. That’s why TUC RAIL called on Threon to optimize its project delivery approach. Time for a first assessment. 

As subsidiary of the Belgian national railway and employer of approximately 1,000 people, TUC RAIL has numerous stakeholders to contend with. To kick off our trajectory, our experts interviewed some of these stakeholders across many functions (management, program managers, unit managers, etc.). From these talks, we distilled several challenges. 

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Challenges

Based on the interviews, we were able to identify three main challenges. First off, TUC RAIL was ready for an upgrade of its Enterprise Project Management (EPM) environment. Secondly, a clear project governance structure was missing. Finally, too many reporting systems had been implemented.

Solutions

Regarding the three main challenges, we have made the following improvements since 2015. 

Scheduling

TUC RAIL decided to switch from an Enterprise Project Management (EPM) to a Project Portfolio Management (PPM) environment. To make this possible, our experts helped with the technical and functional upgrade of Microsoft Project Server. The new version allowed TUC RAIL to introduce new scheduling templates and processes. These were tested thoroughly during a ‘pilot & roll-out’ process. After being positively evaluated by both business and management, they were “rolled-out” to all other programs within the enterprise.

Governance

Together with improving the scheduling, our consultants examined TUC RAIL’s overall project management approach. Some crucial questions came up: who is responsible for which tasks? To whom do they report? When and how often? Based on the answers, we introduced a project governance structure to improve the overview, as well as the communication among different departments. As was the case for scheduling, the governance model was tested through pilot programs.

Reporting

The interviews also revealed that TUC RAIL needed a simplified, clear and uniform reporting system. That’s why our experts developed and installed an ‘executive dashboard’. This dashboard now allows program managers to keep better track of their projects, and portfolio directors to get an immediate overview of the status of a project (its scope, duration, costs, potential risks, setbacks, etc.). The dashboard was tested and validated in three pilot programs, each one led by a different program manager.

TUC RAIL has been assisted by a dedicated EPM competence center throughout the entire track. TUC RAIL employees can contact our experts with all their questions, comments and challenges.

Results

TUC RAIL’s project delivery optimization track is still running, but we have already made significant progress. The new scheduling approach has been welcomed and is currently being rolled out to the final programs. The same goes for the executive dashboard: all previous reporting systems have been terminated, which has saved a significant amount of time. Through the introduction of a new project governance system, employees have more freedom in tackling their responsibilities. We’re now ready for the next step: testing a new approach for TUC RAIL’s resource management process. Stay tuned!

About TUC RAIL

TUC RAIL is a Belgian engineering company that specializes in rail technology. In Belgium, TUC RAIL primarily works for the build department of rail infrastructure manager Infrabel. For over 20 years, the company has contributed to major rail infrastructure projects, like the Regional Express Network and Brussels Airport’s rail link. TUC RAIL also offers its services to foreign projects.