Indian National Highways

Recommended further improvements within NHAI Project Organisation

  • Use of steering groups– As mentioned previously the NHAI experiences delays in communication and slow decision making due to a hirerachary. A steering committee involving members from Contracting Agency, Supervision Consultant Organisation, Chief General Manager and Project Director – Onsite could be formed and regular fortnightly meetings arranged to discuss progress in project/projects. Consideration can be given for virtual meetings using video conferencing. This would reduce time overruns that in turn would avoid cost over runs.
  • Management Training – NHAI has highly qualified staff technical discipline. They hold Bachelors/Masters/Phds in Civil Engineering, however they often lack in management skills. The programs of project management education should be imparted to the staff of NHAI as well as MOT.
  • Reward system – a step towards team motivation –One of the hardest processes to instate at NHAI is a suitable reward system for project team members. I investigated that winning the bid involves illegal practice of bribery paid to approval committee offered by contractor organisation. It is one of the very common practices in Indian government organisations. The Ministry of Transport is looking at ways of overcoming this problem by introducing a reward system which would pay bonus/commission linked to fair practice and achievement. A separate steering committee would be formed to control illegal practices.
  • Organisational Project Alliance - Delays in the execution phase of  highways development projects were due to failure to liaise between local authorities who have responsibility for removal of trees, relocation of utilities like electric transmission lines, poles, water pipes and sewerage,NHAI is considering forming a relationship between these organisations. NHAI wants to involve officials from these organisations as project stakeholders. This would enable all parties to commit to working closely together with overall benefit to the project.
  • Introduction of Information System for reporting, monitoring and controlling the project – As I examined that there has always been the danger of scope creep, cost overrun and schedule overrun. NHAI does not have any proper control system. The only documentation they maintain is bid and contract documentation, design and specification documentations relating to design phase of the project, bill of quantities documentation and project cost bills. Payments to various contractor agencies are based on lump sums and/or progress payments. The NHAI also practices BOOT projects.

NHAI requires the establishment of proper project procedures for handling day to day tasks. Configuration Management procedures also need to be adapted. Hence, a properly structured administrative and control system need to be introduced in NHAI.

I introduced a brief overview of PMBOK and PRINCE2 methods practiced here in United Kingdom for large government projects. NHAI and MOT officials were delighted to see PRINCE2 methods, and are considering modifying and adopting similar standard as per Indian circumstances. There is a possibility of bringing over NHAI project managers to United Kingdom for training in PRINCE 2 methodology.






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