In order to effectively initiate a project it is important that we are able to articulate the desired outcomes. This is where benchmarking - the process of comparing the cost, schedule and performance of a project against other similar projects - can help.
Following the launch of the Transforming Infrastructure Performance (TIP) Programme at the end of last year, the IPA began its first steps on our benchmarking journey, by building a team to deliver four key objectives:
- Cost and schedule benchmarking
- Benefits realisation
- Performance measurement
- International benchmarking
From the outset, we want to ensure that we capture the performance of projects and programmes. And not solely cost. Most importantly this is about building benchmarks in a consistent way and to a common standard.
But this is a long term endeavor. Building trusted data and relationships is absolutely vital and it will take time.
There are a number of other challenges involved such as the availability and quality of benchmarking information and agreeing a common approach to working with it, to name just a couple.
No other country has yet to develop and embed infrastructure performance measures across sectors in this way. Yet as with other aspects of infrastructure delivery, such as planning, and private finance, the UK has an opportunity to pave the way in this area.
Along with the Department for Transport, the IPA took its first steps by hosting a ‘Tunnelling Benchmarking Session’. Working with industry across multiple sectors and client organisations, we explored the key drivers and deliverables behind tunnelling projects.
This forum is looking to provide opportunities to support and encourage collaboration, sharing of data and drive the IPA agenda forward for better benchmarking for infrastructure.
We will look to build on this work and undertake a social infrastructure benchmarking session in early Autumn. And we will collaborate with a variety of benchmarking practitioners to develop benchmarking guidance to be used widely across sectors.
So all in all a busy, challenging but exciting time for the benchmarking team. There is still a lot more to do in order to achieve and deliver the aspirations laid out in TIP.
The IPA Benchmarking team is always happy to chat about all things benchmarking. If you have any questions, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.