Nichols Report on Complex Rail Programmes

Nichols welcomes ORRs publication of its Network Rail Monitor on 4 December 2017, which includes reference to our recent review report on Complex Rail Programmes.  Grant Biggam the Nichols Lead Reporter for this review sets the context for the Nichols Report.

“Nichols was engaged by ORR and Network Rail as an Independent Reporter in June 2017 to review the improvements made by Network Rail in its management of complex programmes involving major timetable change.  We reviewed six representative programmes using a best practice framework for complex programmes developed by Nichols in 2014 for a previous review.

Published by ORR yesterday, our review identifies that improvements have been made by Network Rail since 2015 and areas that can be developed further towards good practice.  Network Rail work closely with the Department for Transport and Transport Scotland to develop and deliver these complex programmes.

We are very pleased with the response to our Report from ORR, DfT, Transport Scotland and Network Rail, and are proud to have delivered another complex multi-stakeholder review to a high quality in a short timescales.”

To read the review please click here.


Loving Variety

Frances & Kathryn Nichols

On 8 November, Frances and Kathryn Nichols presented at the MPA event on Developing the next generation of major project leaders.  Their presentation, Loving Variety, highlighted the importance of diversity and creativity in our constantly changing world, to inspire and empower the next generation of leaders.


Nichols welcome Michael Hurn

Michael Hurn will be joining Nichols in January 2018.

Michael joins us from the Department for Transport where he has worked for the past 12 years, most recently as Acting Director General, High Speed Rail Group.

Michael has been accountable for the development and delivery of a number of significant projects.  These include, his involvement in High Speed Rail Group who sponsored Phase 1 of the HS2 project, the privately financed procurement of new trains for the Thameslink programme and Inter City Express Programme, and King’s Cross redevelopment.

Kathryn Nichols (Chief Executive) said: “We are delighted that Michael is joining our business family. We know that he embodies our values and will help manifest our future vision.”


Discussing the differences between Programme and Portfolio Management

Chris Ctori - Nichols

Nichols Chris Ctori presented at the APM’s Programme versus Portfolio Management corporate event on 10 October.

The evening seminar explored the academic and practical differences between Programme and Portfolio Management.

Chris drew on his impressive experience, spanning over two decades, managing complex programmes from initiation through to handover and integration, highlighting the key aspects of programme management that often lead to unsuccessful outcomes if not carefully considered.

This thought provoking discussion event has opened the doors to further exciting themes including programme and portfolio complexity, cohesive leadership, collaborative behaviour, appropriate governance and constructive truth.


The Mike Nichols Award for Inspiration 2017

All of our finalist’s entries for the award this year were extremely deserving of recognition and demonstrated hugely inspiring qualities.

Two particular entries however, truly touched our hearts and show great hope and light in a time where our world can sometimes seem a dark place.  Both entries were equally as inspiring and so, unusually, two winners have been chosen for this year’s Mike Nichols Award.

As an individual winner, we have chosen Nurjahan Khatun founder of the I Dare U Foundation, and as a programme winner, we have chosen Khadijah Abdullah on behalf of the Education Performance and Delivery Unit in Malaysia.

We were honoured to be joined by both of our winners to accept their awards at the APM Awards Ceremony on Monday 20 November, and are so grateful for Khadijah Abdullah and her team who travelled across the globe to join us on the evening.

We look forward to learning about and celebrating those who inspire the project community and the world in 2018.


Stephen Jones shares his thoughts as the Lead Reviewer for the Hansford Review

Nichols welcomes Network Rail  CEO Mark Carne’s “Open for business” announcement and his endorsement of the Hansford Review.

Nichols was delighted to be appointed to project manage the independent Hansford Review just before Christmas last year. We immediately organised a widespread consultation during January and February, culminating in an industry breakfast seminar at the ICE in early March. The interest in the review was remarkable and reflected a huge range of third parties involved currently and wanting to get involved with funding and delivering rail infrastructure.

We organised four meetings of Peter Hansford’s panel, which maintained the pace of the review and helped to focus the consultation input towards the key recommendations for the review.

Nichols is very proud of our role making the Hansford Review happen and I would like to thank our small team – Elizabeth Baker, Louise Pengelly, Colin Britt and Shyam Patel – for their skill, intellect, flexibility and commitment to delivering a complex multi-faceted review to a successful, high quality report in five months.

We are very pleased with Network Rail’s response to the review and their endorsement of the recommendations.