UK Project Management Round Up


By Miles Shepherd

Executive Advisor & International Correspondent

Salisbury, England, UK


As autumn slides slowly into winter, the Project World in UK seems to be holding its breath as the results of this year’s Association for Project Management Awards are due for release just after we go to press. You can be sure that the results will be fully covered here as soon as they are available.

On a more prosaic note, the focus on infrastructure projects continues as further announcements are made on rail projects, problems over winter power supply have finally penetrated to the Parliamentary mind and to the BBC. We are also seeing more challenges to project plans with a complaint over estimated costs as well as the well-worn but equally challenging views over high speed rail.

There are some other project issues that also attracted attention, notably concerns over strategic capabilities of Boards and interesting news of a very important project seeking improved diagnostics concerned with Alzheimers’.


pmwj28-Nov2014-shepherd-IMAGE1All too often, the client does not get a look in on these pages so I offer a small note of protest from the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets – or Ofgem – that claimed that the cost of the new Caithness – Moray transmission link was too high. Ofgem carried out its own estimate for the project and concluded that their total came to £1.06 million or £174 million less than owners Scottish and South East (SEE) calculation. The project is operated by by SHE (Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission) and is intended to link renewable energy to the grid in the north of Scotland.

Ofgem claims that unnecessary costs derive from over-estimates of risk, by some 61%. It claimed that in addition to over-estimating the risk, SHE had not provided sufficient justification for the risk allowance and produced insufficient evidence to support their estimate of the impact of certain risks. Unusually, Ofgem also said that SHE had budgeted to too many ‘overpaid staff and claimed that there was excessive monitoring of contractors. Ofgem are reported to be concerned that the extra costs will have to be paid for by customers.

The project is part of the long term energy policy developed by the Scottish Government that seeks to have all of Scotland’s energy generated from renewable sources by 2020. According to press reports, customers – especially those in some the very remote parts of the country – are concerned that the move to renewables will increase costs. Many others are concerned about the proliferation of wind farms in areas of outstanding natural beauty.

In another stakeholder rebellion, the Annual General Meeting of Balfour Beatty was the scene of a protest by a single “investor” who had bought a voting share in the company. He protested, vigorously, that the Chair was a “corporate psychopath” as part of his attempt to prevent the £820 million sale of Parsons Brinckerhoff to WSP of Canada. The sale was completed at the end of October and the specialist press has reported that WSP has appointed several senior staff from Parsons Brinckerhoff and CH2M Hill as the group continues to expand in the UK.


To read entire report, click here

About the Author

pmwj17-dec2013-shepherd-AUTHOR IMAGEMILES SHEPHERD flag-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/.