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UK Project Management Round Up

REPORT

By Miles Shepherd

Executive Advisor & International Correspondent

Salisbury, England, UK
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INTRODUCTION

The past month has been interesting for observers of the Project World.  First, the National Audit Office (NAO) released its comments on the Major Projects Agency (MPA) first Annual Report; then came the opening of Heathrow’s rebuilt Terminal 2 and as we close for publication, HM The Queen is due to name the first Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier.  As this was not enough to capture the project eye, we had the low key launch of a ‘new look’ Private Finance Initiative.  All the old favourites resurface, too, so you will find the latest on energy projects and a brief mention of celebrations of success in the project world.

GOVERNMENT PROJECTS

The main focus for the Government recently has been the elimination of nasty surprises on the successful delivery of its ‘projects’.  This has manifested itself in the adoption of some basic portfolio management actions, of which the reporting of a range of project data by Departments is a major part.  The Major Projects Authority (MPA) consolidates data provided by Departments into its annual report which is available not only to Government but is also to key stakeholders – the taxpayer.  Another key component is the reviews of MPA reports by the NAO.  This review provides direct advice to MPA and also provides a key input to the formal scrutiny of infrastructure projects by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the House of Commons.

The latest MPA Report covers the period from June to September 2013.  While this may seem to be a much delayed report, but the sheer size and range of the projects reported coupled with the need to take ‘fiscal drag’ mean that some time is needed for the analysis.  The good news is that the report shows that NAO advice following the first report has been acted upon and much more analysis of data has been included so that the amount of undisclosed data has been reduced by nearly a third.  This follows the issue of revised guidance which has improved the quality of the data published by departments.

Inevitably, there is also some bad news, or at least, not so good news.  The overall performance reported shows a deterioration in ‘deliverability’.  There are many more value of amber-red rated projects, and more worryingly, the value of these projects has increased.  At the same time, the number green rated projects have fallen. This is partly attributed to a change in the make-up of the portfolio; 39 mature projects have left the Portfolio while 47 new projects have joined.  The NAO report notes that, the rating of ongoing projects declined slightly, with 27 projects receiving an improved delivery confidence rating and 32 receiving a lower confidence rating.  

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About the Author

pmwj17-dec2013-shepherd-AUTHOR IMAGEMILES SHEPHERDflag-uk

Salisbury, UK

Miles Shepherd is an executive editorial advisor and international correspondent for PM World in the United Kingdom. He is also managing director for MS Projects Ltd, a consulting company supporting various UK and overseas Government agencies, nuclear industry organisations and other businesses.  Miles has over 30 years’ experience on a variety of projects in UK, Eastern Europe and Russia.  His PM experience includes defence, major IT projects, decommissioning of nuclear reactors, nuclear security, rail and business projects for the UK Government and EU.   Past Chair and Fellow of the Association for Project Management (APM), Miles is also past president and chair of the International Project Management Association (IPMA).  He is currently Director of PMI’s Global Accreditation Centre and the Chair of the ISO committee developing new international standards for Project Management and for Program/Portfolio Management.  He was involved in setting up APM’s team developing guidelines for project management oversight and governance.  Miles is based in Salisbury, England and can be contacted at [email protected].

To view other works by Miles Shepherd, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/miles-shepherd/.