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Rugby New Year debacle: a case of passing the buck

Your article 'Jarvis blamed for New Year rail debacle' (NCE 31 January) seems to be an excellent example of a method of project management, which is becoming more prevalent.

The story goes like this: Network Rail knows there is a shortage of engineering skills, so it employs Bechtel Rail to solve the problem.

Bechtel Rail knows there is a shortage of engineering skills, so it employs Jarvis to solve the problem, Jarvis knows there is a shortage of engineering skills, so it employs Oracle Global to solve the problem.

Yet, somewhere, somehow, at the end of this chain, on the day, there were not enough resources available.

I call this "The Emperor's New Clothes System of Management".

It is our duty as professional engineers, wherever we are in the supply chain, to be frank and realistic with our clients about the practical constraints and business risks that may curtail our clients' aspirations.

JERRY CUTHBERT (M), 6 Linkway, London, SW20 9AU

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