UK Project Management Round Up


By Miles Shepherd

Executive Advisor & International Correspondent 

Salisbury, England, UK


It is a truism in the project world that as one door closes so another opens.  Last month I noted that we were in the so called ‘Silly Season’ when there is little important news as everyone is on vacation or working so hard they have no time to bother with the real world.  So it should come as no surprise that as the Silly Season closes, another opens – and further, no surprise that it is again the season to slate High Speed 2.  There have been some project people at work over the summer and there are some results to report while energy issues are still with us.

High Speed 2

pmwj14-sep2013-shepherd-IMAGE 1The case for any project rests with its business proposition.  This positions the project in terms of the benefit it is intended to deliver, how it fits with the strategy of the owning organization and the needs of stakeholders.  So the business case is vital.

Picture courtesy of Daily Telegraph

In the last month, more attention has been focused on the business case for HS2 with the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) a key think tank challenging the cost basis of the project, claiming the overall cost might be as high as £80 bn compared with a budget of some £42.6bn which is itself a rise from the original estimate of £32bn.  The Institute of Directors (IoD) weighed in with a challenge to the business case, calling the programme a ‘grand folly’ that fewer than 25% of its members support.

As if this was not enough, Alistair Darling, lately Labour’s Chancellor of the Exchequer and also an ex Minister for Transport weighed in and withdrew his support – he was the man who approved the programme in principal while in office.

The response from the current Minster for Transport, Patrick McLaughlin, has been that the programme is essential for growth outside London and that the current budget include contingency.  In a statement to the BBC, he stated that government investment in rail over the next five years, including some with £37bn to electrify 880 miles of railway, the “northern hub” programme to upgrade rail links between northern cities and infrastructure investment in Reading and Birmingham stations would not be staved of cash to support HS2.


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About the Author

miles shepherdflag-ukMILES 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 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].