In the rail sector, larger and more complex programmes are expected to deliver greater outputs in the face of limited resources. This means a step change in management capability is more important than ever.

To meet the demands of increasing urbanisation and population growth, the global railway sector has seen significant investment over the last few decades, both to build new and to upgrade existing infrastructure. Developing management approaches that provide more certainty in the delivery of economic infrastructure is key to instilling confidence from government and other investors.

Railway programmes, which are characteristically lengthy and complex, share delivery difficulties common with other major economic infrastructure. That they tend to be hundreds of kilometres long, cover varied geographies and environments, and usually require extensive line-side furniture to integrate with trains and the modern digital consumer, only adds to the challenges facing today’s railway programmes.

The innovation in programme management and engineering management capabilities needed to manage this complexity has, for the most part, not kept up with the pace and scale of delivery challenges facing major programmes. However, systems integration (SI) is an increasingly popular solution, which seeks to solve a complex problem by dividing the whole into smaller parts.