Disentangling large scale technological projects: Learning from ERTMS roll-out case study in the Netherlands

Yawar Abbas* (Corresponding Author), Alberto Martinetti, Robert Houghton, Arnab Majumdar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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To avoid project delays and cost overruns, it is crucial that organisations' knowledge base on project management is expanded and that experiences in large-scale projects are more widely shared through effective management of lessons learned. However, the management of lessons learned from large scale projects remains a scientific and practical challenge. In addition to their multi-stakeholder setting, the natural loss of experienced knowledge through retirement and the presence of lessons in both tacit and explicit form make their management quite complex. This paper investigates the shortcomings in the current lessons learned management process and contributes to the literature by presenting a formal process for extracting and managing lessons learned from large scale projects. It does this by conducting a case study on the deployment of the European Traffic Management System (ERTMS) in the Netherlands. A nuanced five-step methodological approach is presented, whereby twenty-four structured interviews are conducted with key stakeholders from the Dutch railway sector. The interview data is analysed using the content analysis method and the results are then validated by three independent assessors. To ensure rigour and quality of gathered results, the interrater reliability is determined by calculating Gwet's AC1 coefficients. The paper provides an overview of the key lessons learned from the deployment of ERTMS in the Netherlands and sets out fourteen principles for effective systems management of ERTMS. Finally, the paper also offers six recommendations for policymakers related to their role, such as appointing an independent system integrator, and five recommendations for railways organisations on organisational learning and system integration. The results can be used both to facilitate communication for better decision-making and to develop strategies for effective management of lessons learned.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100856
JournalResearch in Transportation Business and Management
Early online date15 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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