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Title: Benefits of adopting systems engineering approaches in rail projects
Author: Elliott, Bruce Jeffrey
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 0440
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2014
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Systems Engineering (SE) is being increasingly used in rail projects. However, it is not entirely clear what exactly the return on investing in SE is or how to maximise this return. This thesis describes research into the relationship between the adoption of SE in rail projects and project outcomes. Using project cost and duration and system performance to measure the benefits of adopting SE is found to be problematic. Theoretical reasons and practical experience lead the writer to believe that many of the benefits of adopting SE on projects are enjoyed as a consequence of reducing change latency - the unnecessary delay in deciding to make a change. A tentative theory of how SE can reduce change latency is proposed and tested against data collected from nine rail projects. The data corroborate several causal mechanisms in the theory but also suggest that change latency depends upon other factors. For practitioners considering whether to apply SE on a project, the research findings provide encouragement but also a warning that the full benefits of applying SE will only be enjoyed if other pre-requisites for sound decision making are in place. The findings also provide guidance on how to adapt SE practices when applying them to rail projects, in order to maximise the benefits. The writer argues that change latency is a valuable metric for both practitioners and researchers and that formulating and refining explicit theories about the manner in which SE delivers benefits can assist researchers to build upon each other’s work.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)