What’s it all worth?

There’s a lot in the news at the moment about the proposed new high speed train line – specifically about whether it is worth the billions of pounds it is projected to cost.  Indeed, the 4th business case for the project is being published today, and that has dredged up memories of a project I was working on 10 years ago.

The project was the introduction of on-line HR processes – enabling our employees and their managers to take control of their HR activities – booking holidays, recording time off for illness, recording personal development plans and reviews and so on. This project was about empowerment, openness & convenience – all good HR-y stuff, but those things don’t cut it for a business case, so I was tasked with working out a cost-benefit analysis.  This meant loads of assumptions about how much time would be saved with the new approach, and how that time could be redeployed to lead to quantifiable benefits – in short it was ludicrous, and everyone involved knew it, but we still had to go through with it & argue (with a straight face) in umpteen stakeholder meeting that it was a credible case.  

So I empathise with those consultants who are trying to work out the saving of HS2 – I bet that they are questioning the very meaning of life at the moment!

On a tangential note – I was wondering how many helicopters and pilots can be bought for £50m, surely that would be a quicker and more fun way to get from north to south & back again!  I volunteer for that cba.

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