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Comment and opinion



APM podcast: how to be a great project leader

This APM panel podcast focuses on the evolving role of a project leader with Gordon MacKay from Sellafield, Mike Bourne from Cranfield University and Costain’s Claire Fryer. Listen to their expert opinions of what makes a ‘good’ project leader and how the most important part of any system, links back to the individuals in your team.


Engineering Matters Podcast #81 Zen and the art of programme management

Our experts, Sue Kershaw, Claire Fryer and Pete Mill have teamed up with Gordon Masterton from the University of Edinburgh and Engineering Matters to discuss how project reviews are the cornerstone of any major project for the regular and formal review of performance reporting and decision-making. They have the potential to improve project performance and potentially the performance of our industry.

Systems engineering

Understanding the Big Picture to ensure successful project delivery

In this article, Costain's chief systems engineer, Hazel Woodcock explores the types of boundaries and connections for major programmes. Overall, the goal is a ‘one team’ mindset. Know where the boundaries are, know who the stakeholders are, but work in an open 'zero defects attitude' culture.

Andrew Abu-Bakar

The role of leadership in risk management

Our head of risk services, Andrew Abu-Bakar, discusses the ways in which project leaders can influence the effectiveness of risk management through active participation, a dose of realism and a collaborative environment.

Delivering operational efficiency and certainty

Delivering decades of operational efficiency and certainty with through-life thinking

We live in a world where #servicedelivery is non-negotiable and the safety, resilience, reliability, and security of Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) is paramount. So what steps have you and your organisation taken to ensure timely service will meet demand without fail? In this article, Nick Jacques explores how important it is for those involved in delivering an asset to understand that their role is to deliver decades of operational capability not just handover a nice new shiny, high-profile asset.

Leadership behaviours at Costain

Improving major project performance through the right culture and leadership behaviour – PART THREE OF THREE

The urgency to build better resilience for our economy, the environment and communities is stronger than ever before. But realising this imperative requires transformation at pace across the lifecycle of infrastructure and one way to encourage this, to date overlooked, is by improving the behaviours of those leading project review meetings.

Leadership behaviours at Costain

Improving major project performance through the right culture and leadership behaviour – PART TWO OF THREE

We live in a world where pressure to deliver value for money on high-performing, complex infrastructure projects is relentless and yet there are numerous examples of over budget and over running projects in the UK. According to the Infrastructure and Projects Association, of the major projects identified between 2012-2019, the number of projects classified as “probable of a successful delivery” has fallen from 48% in 2013 to just 17% in 2019. A transformation that delivers faster and more efficient projects is required.

Leadership behaviours

Improving major project performance through the right culture and leadership behaviour – PART ONE OF THREE

At a national level, project reviews play a fundamental role in ensuring the nation’s critical infrastructure gets delivered on time and on budget. When properly run they enable the teams involved, and their leadership, to see through the fog, evaluate a project’s underlying health and make effective decisions on future activity. This all centres on the encouragement of desired behaviours and the discouragement of undesired behaviours through different consequences.

Sue Kershaw

Flattening the climate curve? – Lessons from lockdown for tackling for climate change

“Never let a good crisis go to waste”. This statement on the lessons of action in adversity, attributed to Winston Churchill, describing post-war attempts to create the United Nations as a force to rebuild the global community is absolutely pertinent in a COVID-19 impacted Britain right now.

Decarbonising transportation infrastructure

Decarbonising transportation infrastructure through connectivity

Development of connected, digital transport infrastructure promises not only to improve mobility for people but could help tackle the climate challenge too.