Following this blog post just a month ago suggesting that HS2 will not meet its functionality and cost objectives, another report, but this time suggesting that the HS2 schedule is unrealistic. Read the original BBC article here. Read the article from the National Audit Office here.
HS2 Schedule ‘At Risk’
The article suggests that the 2026 opening of HS2 is already ‘at risk‘ despite good progress, and that the budget is under pressure. In fact the article concentrates on the costs and funding aspects of HS2 rather than deliver on its headline promise of discussing the detailed schedule of tasks to be achieved over the next 10 years. (Compare those 10 years with my blog on the original London-Birmingham railway in the 1830’s which was 5 years in construction.)
All projects have to deliver to ‘Time’, ‘Cost’. and ‘Functionality’. The blog post a month ago suggested that the functionality for HS2 (the speed of the trains) was questioned, this article debates both the ‘Time’ and ‘Cost’ objectives. However, the report comes from the National Audit Office (NAO) whose remit is to question and audit projects to ensure that they deliver ‘Value for Money’ on behalf of the Government. As taxpayers, we should be pleased that such projects are brought to account where there are perceived issues.
Project Management is about balancing the needs between the schedule, the budget, and the deliverables. These three main objectives are interlinked. Problems with cost take time to resolve, or lead to functionality reductions. Issues with meeting functionality lead to increases in time and/or cost. Sometimes Project Managers will choose to sacrifice one of these 3 main objectives, in order to meet the other 2. In the case of HS2 there has been recent debate that none of these three objectives will be met!
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