Reconstructing an aging infrastructure
the New York City Transit Authority Capital Program
THE NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT AUTHORITY CAPITAL PROGRAM
IMPLEMENTING MODERN MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES ON THE LARGEST INFRASTRUCTURE REBUILDING PROGRAM EVER UNDERTAKEN
By: Steven J. Marine, Deputy Vice President,
Program Operations, New York City Transit Authority
Assisted By: Louis Collins, Manager Public Information,
New York City Transit Authority
The New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA), a state agency, is the nation's largest mass transit system, serving in excess of 5 million subway and bus passengers daily. Its Rapid Transit Department operates 6100 subway cars on mm-e than 710 miles of tracks serving 469 stations. Its Surface Department operates 3600 buses on 230 routes, traveling annually millions of miles throughout the city. And the transit system operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
NYCTA has one other distinction. It contains some of the oldest Transit infrastructure in the country. Some bus depots are over 100 years old, And portions of its subway, elevated structures and repair Facilities date back to when the system opened in 1904.
In addition to suffering the ravages of time, the infrastructure suffered from dreadful vandalism and from disinvestment. Since the advent of the New York City fiscal crisis in the mid-70‘s, virtually no capital improvements had been made, and needed maintenance was deferred.
Beginning in 1982, a large scale Capital Improvement Program, funded by the N. Y. State Legislature in five-year segments, was initiated to modernize and to rebuild the system. Nothing of this size and complexity had ever been undertaken before by any public agency, state or federal.
Today, the NYCTA is in the middle of the second five-year capital program. One-half of the program deals with the acquisition of new and improved rolling stock anti the other half with the engineering design and construction work requisite to the rehabilitation of the subway and surface infrastructure roils, shops and yards, stations anti surface facilities. Most of the non-rolling stock portion of this vast body of work, with a budgeted value of $6.2 billion, is administered by the NYCTA‘S Engineering and Construction Department, a 1400-member design and construction management team.
At any one point over the course of this program, there are over 350 active projects, underway, ranging in value from $ 1 million to $250 million. Currently, approximately 150 projects worth over $1.6 billion are in construction, about 80 are in predesign or design, with the balance in award, punch list or contract closeout phases.
The basic problem was how to manage the rebuilding of this massive transit system and keep the system in daily operation? After all, there are 5 million people who have to reach their destination each day, no matter what we do.
With the arrival of a new NYCTA team in 1984, it was determined that although the first part of the construction work had already been committed, the Engineering and Construction Department (E&C) lacked the necessary basic organizational structure and controls to administer a program of this magnitude. (See Figure 1).
Viewpoint Michael C. Ascher President Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (Formerly Vice President & Chief Engineer New York City Transit Authority)
“When I joined the NYCTA in 1984, among the management tools noticeably absent were cost and schedule control functions. Estimating generally consisted of a process of dusting off old contracts and escalating them into current values to get ideas of the magnitude of cost..... Scheduling was even less systematic and can best be described as “seat of the pants”.
“In effecting change in any organization, public or private, part of that process requires some degree of finesse in trying to get people to come around—to reach the same conclusion on the need for change on their own. At the Transit Authority, this process took well over a year.
“Finally as our Project Managers started to get into “the nuts and bolts’ of construction management for the very first time, they realized that they were better equipped than the contractors in understanding where the job was, and what it was going to take to complete it, And they felt awfully good about it. Before you knew it, Planning and Scheduling grew into a major division within the organization —but the fact is, at first, there were more non-believers than believers.....
“The management system that we deployed was not a new one, it had already been widely accepted in the construction industry, And what happened out of this is that managers, particularly those who spent their entire careers at the Transit Authority, became aggressive leaders. And I attribute much of that to the cost and scheduling tools.....“We gave them the basics they needed which unfortunately they hadn't been afforded in the past. And when they felt comfortable with it, and had the resources needed to do their jobs, they mastered it. I don't want to suggest that we had a perfect system, but it is constantly undergoing improvement as time goes on.”
Figure 1. Engineering and Construction Department (1984)
To begin with, there were a number of fundamental problems with the organizational structure. First and foremost, no project had one person responsible from beginning to end, from design to construction to closeout.
Again, too few people were responsible for managing too many projects. This precluded proper attention being paid to individual project problems, throughout each phase of the project.
There were no departmental procedures in effect which led to a lack of standardization.
Cost Estimating was done by design personnel; however, the individual designers deemed best. There were no estimating standards resulting in as many estimates as far below the final bid price as above.
The Department had no construction scheduling capability. Scheduling was in the hands of the third party contractors.
Basically, the department had accounting systems which could tell you what had been spent against a budget, but not what had been delivered for that money, and whether or not the project was forecasting completion on schedule or within budget.
To correct these deficiencies, the Transit Authority (TA) management appointed a new Chief Engineer in the spring of 1985. He was Michael C. Ascher who had held a high executive position with the architectural engineering firm of Burns and Roe, a major builder of nuclear and fossil fueled power plants throughout the country.
Under Ascher's direction the concept of single person responsibility and accountability was implemented. This meant the creation of the project manager organization. (See Figure 2).
Approximately 300 additional management positions were added to the Department which included Assistant Vice President/Program Managers and Project Managers. Due to the size of the program area, there were two separate Program Managers created in the Infrastructure and Barns, Shops and Yards areas. Later a single Deputy Vice President was added to the organization.
Figure 2. Engineering and Construction Department (1985)
Figure 2a. Original Program Operations Organization
Figure 2b. Original Program Information Organization
Positions added included the addition of 30 project managers. The project manager became the sole proprietor of a project from design through construction and closeout. -
Quality Assurance procedures, surveillance and training were instituted.
Another innovative addition to E&C was the creation of the Program Operations Department (See Figure 2a). Program Operations would be charged with the responsibility for developing and implementing project control systems, procedures and methodologies for all projects managed by Engineering and Construction.
The author of this article, who had some 20 years experience in Project Management in the aerospace and nuclear industries, was hired by Ascher to oversee Program Operations and given the mandate to create and integrate Program Operations into the department on a post-haste basis.
PROGRAM SYSTEMS APPLICATIONS
Daily project management is usually based on a need to know, NOW. Since the information required to manage a program of this magnitude would be equally as large, it was therefore rhetorical to say there would be by necessity a heavy dependence on computing power. And, the control of the computing power must rest within the Engineering and Construction Department in order to produce not only what is needed, but when it's needed. This assumption led to the formation of the Program Systems Applications Division, dedicated to both mainframe and microcomputer support to E&C, the underpinning to Program Operations.
Replacement of the old trackbed of the BMT Fourth Ave. line in Brooklyn, a $50 million Capital Program.
The next step was the joint decision of what computing methodologies to use and how to structure the information sections of the organization.
The decision was reached, consciously, that detailed cost and schedule project control would be accomplished on microcomputers, while program rollup information and reporting would be maintained on enhanced version of an existing Capital Program Information and Control System (CPICS) utilizing the RAMIS database manager.
The cost of purchasing sufficient copies of a microcomputer program, and the microcomputers was weighed against the purchase, installation and operating cost of a mainframe project control system. Once the initial investment was made in the new microcomputer system, the cost per run was nil.
Portability also weighed in the decision. Project manager offices are located remotely throughout the City, where the work is. As the work location moves, so may the office. Personal computers are portable.
The idea of 30 project manager offices communicating over telephone lines, at one time, to a mainframe computer, and all trying at month end to run updates, was another contributor to the decision.
And lastly, ease of use added to the decision. Since the entire cost scheduling subdivision would be new, it was felt that a microcomputer system being menu driven would be a lot easier to learn.
Figure 3. The Flow of Information in Project Control
Repair of the main line track was a major component of the $83 million Capital Program contract to upgrade and repair the Flushing Line in Queens.
In a program of this magnitude, there are two levels of project control, (see Figure 3), the detailed or project by project level, and the summary or program level. The original idea was that both levels of cost and schedule management would function under one integrated roof, Program Information (see Figure 2b). The detailed cost and schedule work at the individual project level would be done by a cost and scheduling subdivision, while the summary or rollup reporting and budgeting functions would be accomplished by Program Information and bv Fiscal subdivisions.
The construction of the new D-Bay at the Coney Island Main Repair Shop. The addition of this new 54,600 sq.ft. facility gives the repair shop the ability to more easily repair 75-foot long subway cars.
The personnel for the summary level of program reporting and the fiscal functions, for the most part, existed in place. They also had a thorough knowledge of the tools in place to perform their functions, i.e., the CPICS system.
At the detailed level, the Cost and Scheduling personnel did not exist, so it was necessary to recruit these from the outside.
The actual scheduling technique starts with a clean picture of goals of the project, listing major milestones and the necessary steps required to attain these milestones. Since the bulk of our projects deal with renovation of existing structures, while they are kept in service, specific project phasing requirements are introduced at this stage. This summary information is now included in the bid document.
This was made possible by a complete overhaul of the scheduling section of the master legal contract documents. The Authority now asks for discrete short span activities, each one loaded with money, manpower and, where applicable, bulk material quantities. The total value of the plan must tie out to the bid price.
Based on the information in the bid document, each contractor is now obligated to provide the Transit Authority with a detailed critical path (CPM) schedule on how he intends to prosecute the job which must support the summary schedule in the bid document.
The schedule is put through analysis, utilizing our microcomputers and commercially available project control software, which provides the NYCTA all the information required to determine if the schedule is logical and achievable.
The Transit Authority now has rights of review and approval of all schedules submitted by contractors. It no longer accepts schedules which are front loaded with high ticket items or schedules with built in float. This schedule review is also the responsibility of the scheduling personnel, assigned to the Project Office, who perform the analysis and make recommendations to the Project Manager.
Expansion of the Coney Island Maintenance Shop, a$46 million Capital Program Contract.
We now have schedules for each contract that will take it from the design stage to the last broom stroke when the contractor walks out the door.
Moreover, the detailed schedule analysis provides the Project Manager with an insight into what activities the NYCTA must supply for the contractor to meet his schedule. For example, when must we supply work trains to deliver materials to an underground station? When must we plan on taking a track out of service, and will this conflict with another project?
Figure 4. Engineering and Construction Department(1986) Support Services—Program Management
Scheduling comes into play to incorporate the activity durations into a Critical Path Method (CPM) Network which will be used to monitor a job as it progresses throughout its construction.
As things happen in and out of sequence, the project is analyzed quickly and adjustments are made. For-example, if there is a cement strike, or roofing materials are delivered late, or electric components are not available. we are able to develop possible alternative work plans and adjust our schedule accordingly and, more importantly, to maintain a running project forecast of project schedule and cost at completion.
How did the contracting community view the new scheduling requirements? At first, they thought it was business as usual. However, when a few Project Managers exercised their rights to delay payments based on noncompliance with this requirement, the contractors soon learned that the Transit Authority was really serious about the value of its new scheduling capability.
HOW STAFFING WAS BUILT
Cost Estimating and Scheduling are not disciplines learned in school. They are learned by doing. Good practitioners come from years of experience, are in demand, are highly skilled and well paid.
How then to attract the skills in sufficient numbers to staff a young organization? And what are the problems faced?
Problem 1. In a civil service organization, all jobs must be posted to ascertain whether or not the position can be filled from within. The first step was to send out a questionnaire to 160 project Coordinators. What this questionnaire and subsequent job postings proved was that these skills existed nowhere in the Transit Authority.
The second step to this trial balloon was to attempt to recruit and train from within. Approximately 25 Project Coordinators were recruited and given intensive back-to-back training courses in basic CPM scheduling, followed by a course in computerized scheduling.
Of the 25 trained, 23 eventually returned to their old jobs! They did not embrace a new field of endeavor.
All of the above consumed over six months!
Problem 2. Salary. How do you convince an old line civil service organization that the entry level salaries paid are insufficient to attract these required skills?
Current salary scales from private industry and publications like Engineering News Record, Cost Engineering Magazine and PMI were utilized. Again, time wasted to establish the required salaries.
Problem 3, How do you attract sufficient qualified personnel, especially to a downtown urban area?
Advertisements were placed constantly in every major paper in the New York area, each time openings existed. This did not really prove that fruitful. You get plenty of resumes but very few really good qualified people.
The major emphasis was, and will continue to be on networking. The’ bulk of the highly skilled people that have been recruited to Program Operations have been recruited through networking, i.e., personal contacts.
Luckily, at the time the major recruiting was going on, business in the power, aerospace and process plant industries was weak and we were able to attract the personnel we needed.
The last step was the introduction of the indispensable function of Cost Estimating. Good estimating must approximate what the contractor's thought processes are in order to produce viable estimates and evaluate the bids.
By developing good reference estimates that integrate with schedules which are updated monthly, construction progress can be better monitored and controlled.
Estimating includes not only detailed construction cost estimates for projects at the 10%, 40%, 70% and 100% design points for in house design, but also detailed estimates for every additional work order, a thorough review of every estimate prepared by a design consultant, and an analysis of every construction bid received.
The Selection of a PM System
The first decision made was to utilize a PC based project management system in the project offices for individual project cost and schedule control. The reasoning was the following:
1. There are 30 project offices scattered throughout New York City. If mainframe computing were used, the cost and problems associated with communications would have been immense, as well as the cost of mainframe computing for this scale of program. The PC based system was substantially less expensive.
2. Secondly, all the offices would have been competing for the same resource at month end when all the updates come in.
3. The PM offices are movable to where ever the work is. When an office moves, you plug in the PC and you are up and running.
4. A menu driven PC system is easier to learn, particularly given that the entire department was new in 1986.
Why was Plantrac chosen?
1. The system capacity was large enough for the largest projects.
2. Plantrac was the only high end system available at that time with both resource constrained and time constrained leveling available, as well as all the other requirements necessary to manage such a large undertaking.
3. Plantrac has a very powerful custom report writer. You can design your own, including graphics. The menus are easy to learn, and an experienced scheduler is up and running in a day.
4. Plantrac had a good track record.
If successful, these efforts could improve the Engineering and Construction Department's ability to manage the day-to-day problems and progress of contracts and accurately forecast how long contracts should take to complete. And equally important, they would provide a systematic basis for forecasting how much the projects are expected to cost by the time they are completed.
THE FIRST TENTATIVE STEPS
Procedures And Quality Assurance
What about overall procedures vital to the work? In 1985, there were no procedures for capital construction in the Department, no systematic and disciplined methods for inspecting and evaluating the work. By 1987, under the Assistant Vice President of Quality Assurance, the Department prepared 52 procedures, and more importantly, trained over 700 people in their use.
Typical Project Summary Schedule, Queens Boulevard Connection, will be the largest project managed by Engineering and Construction, about $400 million.
These procedures cover a wide variety of subjects, from inspection of construction, to project control to preparation of additional work orders, and consultant and contractor payments.
Who wrote these procedures? It is a credit to the Department, that every one of these procedures was written by a member of Engineering and Construction. And the bulk of them were completed in 1986.
Quality Assurance is also charged with conducting periodic surveillance reviews to ensure the proper utilization of these procedures. In addition, this division is also introducing new concepts to the department, such as Value Engineering.
In order to save time while the initial hiring of cost and schedule personnel was proceeding, it was decided to start the microcomputer software procurement process so that everything would be in place when the first personnel arrived.
The first step was to write a detailed specification. The specification was written by the Assistant Vice President program Operations along with the a representative from the central Systems Information Management Department (SIM).
Being a public agency, the next step was to invite software vendors who could satisfy the specification, to submit packages for a comprehensive testing program. Three packages which could meet the specification were ultimately tested by the AVP Program Operations and the representative from SIM.
The test program included utilizing a test network and testing every single item in the specification. Two packages survived and one was ultimately selected. The whole process from beginning of specification to software on site took six months.
In 1986 all projects in the construction phase were surveyed. Only those projects with reasonable amounts of work remaining to be done were selected for detail scheduling followup. These projects were loaded into the microcomputer system and monthly updates with analyses were performed on the remaining work.
The NYCTA — An Overview
New York City's public transit system, operated by the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) presently constitutes 21 subway lines and 230 bus routes.
Together both modes carry approximately 5.2 million average daily riders. The preponderance of these passengers are intra-city riders who use the system to get to work in central or lower Manhattan, However, there are hundreds of thousands of other passengers who commute from adjacent suburban counties outside of New York City, or from New Jersey and Connecticut, who also use the city's subway and bus system to get to their jobs.
Dubbed the “daily miracle” because of its ability to transport millions of customers safely, reliably and in comparative comfort, the New York City transit system is, of course, used each day by thousands of shoppers, tourists, and students, as well as by those who just want to see what this “Miracle” is all about.
The evolution of the city's transit system can be said really to have begun with the opening of the first subway line in October 1904. This 9.2-mile route, constructed on the East Side of Manhattan, extended from City Hall (near the Brooklyn Bridge) north to 42nd Street and Grand Central, turned West to Broadway and then proceeded up to 145th Street. During the first year of the line's operation, service was provided to 300,000 daily riders.
In succeeding years and for the better part of the next three decades, subway construction was to move rapidly forward with underground and elevated portions expanding into upper Manhattan, The Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn. By the end of the 1930s, what finally emerged was one of the largest and most complex mass transit systems in the world.
The subway system which serves New York City today has 235 route miles of track and 469 stations. Passengers are served by a fleet of 6,100 subway cars which make 7,000 trips a day. New York's subways operate around the clock.
The most recent additions to the system were two new transit routes-the Archer Avenue Line in Queens and the 63rd Street Line linking Manhattan and Queens-both of which become operational in the Second Five-Year Capital Program.
Most of the bus service in New York City today is provided by the Transit Authority and its subsidiary, the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority. Their combined fleets total more than 3,600 buses which operate on 205 regular routes and 25 express routes and travel 100 million miles a year in regular service and 7 million miles in express service over approximately 1,000 miles of city streets.
In the borough of Staten Island, another Transit Authority subsidiary, the Staten Island Rapid Transit Operating Authority (SIRTOA) provides train service along a 14-mile route across the center of the Island. It has 22 stations, operates 54 cars and provides daily service to more than 23,000 passengers, most of whom commute by ferry across the lower Bay into Manhattan. The NYCTA also operates an extensive local and express bus service on Staten Island.
To store and service its subway and bus fleet, the Transit Authority maintains 32 facilities throughout the city.
The Transit Authority's work force presently numbers over 50,000 employees. Of this total, nearly 36,000 are operating and maintenance workers. It also includes some 4,400 front-line supervisors.
The Transit Authority also has one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the country, the New York City Transit Police Department. Its force presently numbers approximately 4,000 men and women which makes it the sixth largest in the United States. Its mission is to protect the riders and employees of the subway and safeguard subway property.
Viewpoint Robert Daniello Senior Project Coordinator
“Since joining the Engineering and Construction Department in 1979, I have worked in the Advanced Planning, Civil Engineering and Architectural Divisions, and the Hydraulics Design Subdivision. Previous duties in these areas ranged from preparing presentations for public hearings to hydraulic design work.
“My career in Engineering& Construction dramatically changed in 1986 when I joined the newly created area of Project Controls in the position of Cost/Scheduler and learned the importance scheduling and project control would have on the management of construction projects. At that time, I had earned my BBA from Baruch College attending evening classes. There I studied CPM scheduling and various project control management systems, thereby obtaining an understanding of the basic concepts.
“I began an intensive training program under the guidance of Mr. R. Grosjean, Cost/Schedule Supervisor, Stations “A”. Learning the computer scheduling program “Plantrac” was a challenge. From day one, utilizing Plantrac effectively was a top priority, as my first assignment involved the installation of new boilers at Transit Authority headquarters. I met with the contractor on a daily basis to assess manpower, material deliveries and subcontractor performance. All data was entered into the schedule, enabling me to generate various control reports from Plantrac. I discovered that “hands on experience” is the best method for understanding any software program.
“After four weeks of practical training, I was assigned to a Project Manager field office with the responsibility of scheduling the Grand Central Station Modernization project. Grand Central, along with five other projects, was designated as “showcase”, requiring project control reports be sent to the Urban Mass Transportation Authority (UMTA). Therefore, it became essential to create cost and resource data for the Grand Central project. Using Plantrac, each activity was assigned a relative dollar value, material quantities needed to complete, a responsibility code, and manhours required. The reports generated for UMTA included assessments of material quantities, manpower, costing, revenue, contractor performance and project status.
“The support services the Cost/Schedule Division provides to the Project Manager varies with the complexity of each project. On Grand Central, this included coordination of construction phasing with other NYCTA departments, the preparation of subnetwork schedules and assessment of installation rates for all subcontractors.
“Being involved with the contructor on an almost daily basis is essential to monitoring project performance. Experience has shown that contractors have difficulty in maintaining their own schedules, necessitating the NYCTA to follow up on project commitments.
“Once the contractor recognizes that his commitments are being monitored, the work generally progresses much more expeditiously.”
In addition, six so called “showcase projects”, newly awarded in 1987, were selected for the new project control methods, including cost and resource planning and progress measurement
How about acceptance of Program Information, and specifically the Cost and Scheduling subdivision? This stage in the evolution of Program Operations is still euphemistically called “The Palace Revoll.” The acceptance of Cost and Scheduling was less than adequate to say the least.
There was great apprehension on the part of the Project Managers thinking the schedulers were the Chief Engineer's representative in their shop. The concept of the matrix organization was not particular well received at the outset.
How was this initial apprehension overcome?
Training was offered to the Project Managers and their staffs. It came from the point of view, “You know all the information these people are producing. Well, here's what you can do with it.”
The training emphasized the role of the scheduler on the PM staff. The point was finally made that these are an asset to your staff not to Program Operations.
Fortunately, a few of the project managers came from outside the Authority and had been exposed to modern cost and schedule management systems and procedures. These few helped scheduling gain initial acceptance.
When the Project Managers heard about the few successful contributions made by Program Information, the requests for scheduling help began to proliferate like popcorn. The Project Managers could not get enough scheduling assistance.
In summary, the Cost and Scheduling subdivision became so successful that by the end of 1987 (two years after its inception) it was accorded accolades outside the Authority.
Figure 4a. Engineering and Construction Department (1986)—Program Management Organization
Figure 4b. Engineering and Construction Department — Program Operations
For example, the Urban Mass Transportation Authority (UMTA), from whom the Transit Authority receives large monetary grants each year, has invited other transit properties from around the United States to see how this department does construction management.
Scheduling has expanded outside the Engineering and Construction Department and is now providing scheduling services to the Revenue
Department for the implementation of an Automatic Fare Collection program, to the Car Equipment Department for subway car overhauls, to all operating departments concerned with putting new subway routes in revenue service and to the Electrical Power, Signals and Communications Department.
In cost estimating a series of tools were implemented. For example, commodity price files were created and maintained so that up-to-the-minute prices are available to all estimators.
Local craft wage scales were obtained. A library of industry estimating publications was established. Procedures were identified and writing and training conducted.
Computer tools were established for pricing exercises, comparisons, bid trends, etc.
Also, historical data is being stored in a computer file which will be referred to for future contracts of a similar type. Since transit work of this nature is unique, commercially available estimating data bases are not usable.
And how was user acceptance of this Division? In the beginning, the feeling was, “You people can't help. You don't have transit experience.”
But, after a few good estimates prior to bid and a few change order negotiating sessions, at which the Cost Estimating Division saved the Project Manager money and illustrated an in-depth knowledge of good construction practice, the acceptance of this division grew almost over night.
Now, Project Managers will not sit down with a contractor to discuss costs without Cost Estimating present. Project Managers eagerly await bid analysis, comparing Division versus contractor estimates. Analysis of consultant prepared estimates was given credibility.
Viewpoint Mysore Nagaraja Deputy Vice president
“When I first came here as a Project Manager in 1985, I was given responsibility for the design of the rehabilitation of the IRT Lexington Avenue subway line—a $150 million contract. This was the most complex and biggest design work to be undertaken by the Transit Authority in either the first or second Five-Year Capital Program.
“We didn't have a functioning estimating department, and we didn't have a functioning scheduling section. I experienced major problems because the cost estimates were being done by the designers without set guidelines to follow. There was no industry standard that was followed.
“So the job went into bidding, the bids came in and the bids were outlandish. For example, the designer's estimate was $127 million, the low bid was $182 million. Then the question came up of who did the estimate? I had to say that if it had been done by the estimating group it probably could have been a lot closer and we would have had a credible estimate.
“If we had a good estimating section at that time, we wouldn't have to go through the rebidding process. If we had one, then probably we would have known that the project was contracted for much more money making it bigger. We would then have planned for it. Then we wouldn't have lost all that time. In the rebidding of the contract, certain items were excluded and the Cost Estimating people were involved. They came up with their estimates, and they saved the day.
“Cost scheduling has been a great tool for the Project Manager. It's a big help for the Project Manager to have a scheduler who knows the techniques of the CPM and work plan to advise the Project Manager if the Contractor is “telling a story.” It has become a big help to the Project Manager in doing his job more effectively. In some cases, what has happened is that the Contractor is not sophisticated enough to have the kind of detailed schedule we would like to see. He does not have the management also in many cases. So in those cases, the Project Manager can use the help of the scheduler and the cost estimator in order to develop a management plan. This benefits the Authority in getting the project done faster, on time, and within budget.
“We are now using Scheduling and Estimating on all our projects which is quite a beneficial change. In the beginning, the Project Managers, especially the ones who are oldtimers, had a tough time accepting these estimators and schedulers, but I think as of today, I am happy to say, that most project Managers—I would say 99% of them—have accepted these functions and have seen the benefit of having a Scheduler and a Cost Estimator on their team.”
Figure 5. Engineering and Construction Department (1988) — Organization
Viewpoint Jerome Forman, Senior Vice President Capital Program Management
Talking About Scheduling & Estimating
“Before these functions were put in place, if you wanted to know when a project was going to get done, you asked people to make phone calls and all you got back was a phone call. And when you asked for the basis of the answer ... who compiled the information what you found out is that everyone had asked the contractor. This department didn't have any of its own opinion, or its own control, or its own ability to measure performance in the field. And that's what we've built. We have a scheduling operation, probably as good as any in the country today.
“Today when I want to know when a job is going to get done, I ask Program Operations. I ask the PMs but I also ask Steve Marine (Deputy Vice President), and he asks the schedulers because he understands and practices matrix management. Although all the scheduling people are recruited and trained by Marine and are an administered resource, they don't get their daily direction from him. They're out all over the place working for Project Managers and AVPS as a resource to them—which is matrix management.
“Scheduling has done wonderful things to the point when the Transit Authority President asks me when something is going to get done. I may not know, but when I ask Program Operations, what I get back is a credible answer.
“What Scheduling and Cost Estimating do is they give the people the tools to understand what is really happening and going to get done, and when they find out for some reason it isn't going to get done, then they take the necessary action to make it get done.
“If you want quality, you have to demand it, and that's what we're doing. By adopting Scheduling and Estimating, we've set new standards which the contractors must adhere to. The scheduling requirements we have in the contract have been significantly upgraded so that the contractor has been forced to manage better. And then we have the ability to independently monitor them. So they're getting better, we're getting better and the whole Capital Program is getting better.”
Figure 5a. Program Operations (1989)
By October of 1986, one year and three months after beginning, Program Operations assumed the responsibility for all scheduling, progress reporting and cost estimating on all projects managed by E&C.
THE NEXT STEPS
The next step in the evolution of the Engineering and Construction Department was the separation of the Program Management area into three areas (Deputy Vice Presidents, see figures 4 and 4a). The reasoning behind this was to recognize the difference between the work basically civil structural in nature, the work more architectural in nature and the specialized work of putting newly constructed routes in service.
In addition, support services were elevated to equal footing with the Program Management areas.
In the area of Program Operations, Cost and Scheduling was separated from Program Information and given equal footing as a separate division (see figure 4b). The reason behind this move was dictated by the different goals and informational requirements of single project management versus the program rollup type of reporting.
ORGANIZATIONAL GROWTH (1989)
With another year's experience under it's belt, at the end of 1988, E&C embarked on what was to become an annual workload analysis versus performance and organizational structure. This led to two significant organizational changes. The position of Vice President and Chief Engineer was changed to Vice President - Capital Program Management and later Senior Vice President. Secondly, a fourth area of responsibility was added with a Deputy Vice President overseeing Shops and Yards, Surface Programs and the in-house design area (see figure 5). what was required here was a more equitable distribution of responsibilities.
How Strategic Objectives Are Being Achieved
What are the strategic objectives of a transit system as large as the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) and how are these objectives being achieved?
The basic objective of the Capital Program is to maintain and modernize an aging transit system, regarded as the economic lifeline of the City and the region.
Ancillary objectives are, of course, to improve reliability, increase efficiency, improve passenger environment and safety, all of which will attract additional passengers, thus promoting New York City and regional mobility, generally.
To accomplish these ends, the NYCTA must maintain the gains already realized in the capital program since 1982. To do this requires additional investments for the whole transit system, to achieve a “State Of Good Repair” (SOGR) as soon as feasible. The system is only as good as its weakest link.
Additionally, normal replacement cycles for plant and equipment must be institutionalized. This means all equipment and facilities will be regularly rebuilt or replaced at the end of useful life.
It is estimated that, in order to accomplish these two goals, over $36 billion in 1988 dollars will be required in the next 20 years!
AN ASSESSMENT OF SUCCESS
How successful has the whole venture been to date?
In 1986, when the proposal for the second five-year program went before the State Legislature for approval, not one voice was heard commenting on the TA ability to manage a capital program of this magnitude. A far cry from what was heard in 1984!
We have even received inquiries for help from other non transit agencies with large capital programs, like the New York City School Construction Authority. We have become the National example.
In 1989, Engineering and Construction completed an unprecedented $600 million worth of work, including over $245 million worth of infrastructure projects which have been completed from six months to one year ahead of schedule.
In 1988 alone, over $4 million was saved on change order negotiations alone by the Cost Estimating Division.
And lastly, a sister agency, the Long Island Railroad has enlisted the help of Engineering and Construction to help it develop a Capital Program Management Department as an approximate mirror of Engineering and Construction. This has led to the final and current organizational structure of Program Operations depicted in figure 5a.
A NOTE ON LESSONS LEARNED
What can be learned from such a massive undertaking as this?
The first lesson is obvious. It is far easier to establish your organization in advance of your program, not in parallel with it. The NYCTA is still working off the legacy of projects begun without the benefit of proper organization and controls.
Be prepared to make a commitment and an investment up front. Writing procedures, hiring and training personnel, buying computers, etc., is an investment which pays extra dividends downstream.
Don't be afraid to redirect as you go. If you have placed the wrong person in a position, change, it. If you need to restructure the organization as the workload changes, do it. Managing a large capital program is managing a living thing, and you must be prepared to meet its needs.
Steven J. Manne, Deputy Vice President Capital Program Operations, New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA).
Upon joining the NYCTA Engineering and Construction Department (E&C) in 1985, Mr. Marine became Director, and later Deputy Vice President Capital Program Operations. At NYCTA, Mr. Marine's responsibilities encompass the planning, scheduling, progress measurement and reporting, capital cost estimating, and contract claims for an annual capital construction workload of $1 billion to $2 billion, and an annual design workload of over $100 million. Additional responsibilities include providing microcomputer and mainframe computing support to E&C. This includes over 200 microcomputers and annual mainframe computing costs in excess of $1 million.
Prior to joining NYCTA, Mr. Marine was employed by Burns and Roe, Inc. and Grumman Aerospace Corporation.
At Burns and Roe, Mr. Manne progressed from Senior Planning Engineer to Manager Planning and Scbeduling for the Burns and Roe family of companies.
His contributions centered around the applications of advanced project control systems and methods to power plant design and construction, and the introduction of microcomputer based project cost and schedule control and reporting.
At Grumman Aerospace, Mr. Marine participated in both the Production and Development C/SCSC validations of management systems by the Department of Defense and contributed to the implementation of computerized project control methods on many aircraft and spacecraft programs.
These three assignments have provided Mr. Marine with over 20 years experience in the field of project cost and schedule control systems and procedures.
Louis A. Collins has been associated for 19 years with the New York City Transit Authority working primarily in press relations and other public relations areas. For the past four years, be has been responsible for producing a quarterly publication highlighting the progress of the construction portion of the Transit Authority's Capital Program and those who implement it. This periodical is distributed to the more than 1..300 employees of the NYCTA‘s Engineering and Construction Department and is also sent to Senior Management throughout the NYCTA and in other agencies under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.