by Julian Goldsmith

Smooth travelling in the Olympic Games? Hope for the best

Jul 24, 20122 mins
IT Leadership

Anyone who has taken a journey on London’s transport network recently will be aware of a poster campaign advising travellers to seek alternative routes around the capital or allow extra time during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

So far there has been comparatively little disruption, but the city is expected to experience a huge influx of tourists for the games and most Londoners and commuters are bracing themselves for a pretty hellish time.

Some roads have been effectively narrowed with lanes reserved for official Olympic traffic.

Whether or not this transpires, TfL is pretty much making pains to manage our expectations that the system will fail.

Yes, Wifi has been provided in many stations, but little actual infrastructure has been added to cope with the spike in demand.

That’s a pretty sad state of affairs, given the amount of time the organisation has had to put measures in place to cope with the rise in traveller numbers.

More than this though, it’s setting up the idea of failure before the endeavour has even begun.

The staff expected to run the transport systems will undoubtedly take the message that it’s ok now for them to come unstuck. No one will mind that much. After all, they’ve all got contingency plans.

Some might say that this is a pragmatic response designed to minimise the nasty surprise should the Tube and busses gridlock.

But, big projects don’t come off by their managers saying: “Just in case it all falls over folks, could you make other plans?”

That may happen but what everyone wants to hear is that at least the project organisers have some faith in it being a huge success.

The many talented CIOs that I have talked with over the years all have that visionary zeal. They share a passion for their projects, some of them quite awe-inspiring in scale.

They have massive change management challenges and they know that only by reassuring everyone around them that their projects will be a huge success will they be able to overcome those hostilities to new technology and processes.

Plan for the worst, yes. But hope for the best, and get everyone else to hope for it with you.