This Month, People, Programs, Portfolios and Progress



UK Project Management Round Up

By Miles Shepherd

Executive Advisor & International Correspondent

Salisbury, England, UK



This Month

The events in Paris have overshadowed almost everything else this month. The shock and revulsion generated by the attacks has affected us all. The reactions in Paris, in Brussels and throughout Europe are likely to go some way towards preventing further atrocities. But the most significant result is a closer cooperation amongst European leaders that looks likely to encourage closer integration of key counter terrorist activities, the first step in what will prove to be a long road towards the elimination of such threats to society. The journey can be made more easy by the adoption of project management approaches – be they program or portfolio specific.

Meanwhile, the project world continues to provide much of interest. In UK, big projects seem to attract the most attention with infrastructure projects heading the list. Rail is coming in for more criticism, energy is beginning to attract more attention and defence procurement is the subject of what seems to be a Whitehall power play. At the professional society level, there is news of the Association for Project Management Board elections and Presidential news at both the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Association for Project Management (APM). But first let’s take a look at some people in the news.


Many readers will recollect the crucial role played by Sir John Armitt (left) in the run up to the London Olympics. Coming from a construction industry background, he is well acquainted with project management. There is a tale, apocryphal no doubt, that he used to talk about the Olympic programme to politicians as that was what they understood. When speaking to the Tier One contractors, he referred to the Olympic portfolio as they were each running their own project. But when he spoke to experienced Project Managers, he referred to the Olympic Project – because that was how he saw it! Well, a lot has happened since then, he has been a member of the Davis Commission – advising on London’s third runway; he is reputed to have saved the West Coast Mainline upgrade project (some project at £18 billion). According to the Times, he led the Channel Tunnel rail link and helped to construct Sizewell B, the last nuclear plant built in UK.

Sir John came up with the Labour Party’s plan for a committee to oversee all of the UK infrastructure. This idea, to have a single body responsible for oversight of all such projects. This idea has been implemented by George Osbourne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer as the National Infrastructure Commission. Interestingly, Sir John claims that the state of UK infrastructure, which is only rated in 27th place worldwide, is “not the infrastructure that is built, but the projects that aren’t.” It will be particularly interesting to see how the nation’s portfolio of major infrastructure projects progresses in the hands of the Commission.


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About the Author



Salisbury, UK

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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/.