UK Project Management Round Up


By Miles Shepherd

Executive Advisor & International Correspondent

Salisbury, England, UK


As the calendar year draws to an end, more projects than ever are hitting the headlines in UK, and there is also news of the completion of major projects elsewhere in Europe.  So first, there are the projects in the governance of UK; then comes news of commercial projects followed by transportation and energy project news.  But before these tasty items, perhaps we need to consider some factors about project reporting since, as we all know, project delays and overruns hit the headlines with all too great a regularity so it is a topic that is or should be close to all our hearts.

Project Reporting

A small item caught my attention last month – crime statistics are being manipulated to avoid showing any rise in crime.  This claim came from a senior police officer, the Chief Constable of Derbyshire, Mick Creedon who claims that numerous officers in “many forces” had told him it was happening.  What, you might very well ask, is this to do with Project Management?  Well, there is a close resemblance between reporting crime statistics and project reporting.  Both are measures of progress and both are made to trusting clients.  In the case of the Police, it is the Government and in the case of Projects it is the client.  Both are dependent on accurate reports to help release resources, and based on these reports, payments are made.

The key point here revolves around trust.  We all know the importance of accurate reporting and how hard it can sometimes be to get accurate information for reports but good project managers report on the best information they can get and offer this to their client to give a valid representation of progress and any inferences that can be drawn from the data.  Deliberately inaccurate reports not only present a false picture of progress, they also represent a fundamental breach of trust.  Even more significant, they damage the profession of project management and reduce the level of trust that the general public will repose in all project managers.

Projects in Politics

From the deeply unethical situation of false reporting, we move onto political projects.  Here I do not mean the politics of projects, although there is a great deal of politics involved in many projects because they fit into the strategy of the organization.  Here I mean projects that relate to projects in the political domain.  Mostly, politicians do not claim to be involved in projects but many of their activities might be described as project based.  They have clear aims, a series of related activities intended to achieve those aims and a finite set of resources to use.  In UK, one of the most significant political projects since 1707 when the Acts of Union were passed by the Parliaments of England and Scotland has reached a critical stage.  For those who need to refresh their memory of the Acts, take a look at this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acts_of_Union_1707.

The project is being carried out by the Scottish National Party (SNP) and seeks to separate Scotland from the United Kingdom.  The critical stage is the publication by the Scottish Government of their long awaited White Paper on the future of Scotland as an independent country.  This document raises as many questions as it answers and its detailed content is outside the scope of this journal but one question that it raises in my mind is are we talking about a project or a programme? 


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About the Author

flag-ukpmwj17-dec2013-shepherd-AUTHOR IMAGEMILES SHEPHERD 

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].