Crossrail’s goal is to bring London metro-level performance on the main line, but it is an international project. The signalling systems, for example, are developed in the UK, Germany, Sweden, India, France and Italy. Besides the complexity of making the systems work together, pulling together people of different backgrounds and cultures is one of the things I’ve enjoyed doing over my career, having lived and worked in different countries over the years.
Since 2009, I’ve worked on establishing WSP’s rail business internationally, including creating our presence in Denmark and Israel. I’ve also served as a kind of ambassador for system integration globally, helping our teams in Sweden, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere to establish similar methodologies. As we’ve built experience, I’ve also helped in pulling together the global resources and solutions needed to win projects such as the Bogotá Metro. I enjoy watching the buzz our people get from working on these big international projects, providing interesting challenges and a taste of what it takes to apply their skills in new cultures.
Personally, I get a buzz from the stages of a project where there’s lots to fix and prioritise, which requires a balance between being strong in outlining plans and convincing people to pull together without upsetting anyone. Then there’s a eureka moment when everyone sees that there’s a plan and it’s going to work. You know you’re on the way to success when things start to take care of themselves – when before we could call a meeting about an issue, the contractor has already prioritised and fixed it. This leaves more time to focus on strategic issues, looking ahead to what needs prioritising next.
Ultimately, for me, success really means managing myself out of a job. That’s okay, though, because there’s always another challenge coming down the line.
Pradeep’s focus on Crossrail was to ensure all technology systems in this complex project work together. Learn more about the signalling systems in the Crossrail video below with Pradeep.