V IE WPOIN TS
the 16th. During this 48-hour period, all rail traffic
would be suspended—a first in the 157-year history of
A.K. Sachan, the railway’s chief engineer, was designated
the project manager. He and his team set in motion the
gigantic, once-in-a-lifetime project.
In “normal” conditions, Mr. Sachan says the project
would have taken one year to execute. The other option
would have been to work in 12-hour blocks on the weekends. Instead, the team opted to telescope the schedule to
48 hours “with a common-sense approach and last-detail
planning,” he explained.
That planning took more than a year. All the necessary
civil contracts were awarded in plenty of time as well. In
fact, Mr. Sachan says contractors went out of their way to
accommodate the grueling schedule without any demands
that could have resulted in cost escalation.
The first objective was to bring down the bridge.
Working in tandem, the project team would also extend the
platforms, and realign the tracks and signaling systems. The
logistics were hashed out with military precision. Every
minute had to be accounted for. There could be no room for
surprises, as these would eat into the time allowed.
Two hundred laborers—both skilled and unskilled—
worked per shift, with six shifts in all. Carrying on the fine
tradition of Indian ingenuity for finding suitable
workarounds, Mr. Sachan and his team barked out orders
by tapping into the station’s public address system so
everyone could hear instructions clearly.
The project also involved
seven excavators and 18 gas
cutters to remove 1,070 cubic
meters ( 37,787 cubic feet) of
debris and 125 tonnes of steel.
To save time, the team strategically placed wagons directly
under the old bridge, so muck
and debris could fall right into
them. In the end, 40-some
wagons were filled.
“All the processes of project
time, cost, quality, risk, human
relations, communication, pro-
curement and project integra-
tion—were visited during this
project,” says Mr. Sachan. “The
greatest satisfaction for me was
two-fold: All the objectives were met within 48 hours, and
secondly, equally important, there were no casualties,
major or minor.”
Most incredibly, all of the objectives were actually met
before the deadline. The project was declared complete and
handed over to the operational staff at 9: 30 p.m., one hour
ahead of schedule. The first train entered Masjid station at
11: 25 p.m. that night.
To me, this was a perfect case for project management.
Who says elephants can’t dance? PM
VOICES ON PROJECT MANAGEMENT
PMP, is a systems
manager at the State
Bank of India, a
Fortune 500 organization in Mumbai,
India. He’s also
involved in people
RAISE YOUR VOICE No one knows project management better than you, the practitioners “in the trenches.” So PM Network launched its Voices on Project Management column.
Every month, project managers will share ideas, experiences and opinions on everything from
sustainability to talent management, and all points in between. If you’re interested in contributing,
please send your idea to firstname.lastname@example.org.