UK Project Management Roundup


By Miles Shepherd

Executive Advisor & International Correspondent

Salisbury, England, UK


The autumn always seems to throw up some interesting topics and this year has been no exception.  While many are mulling over the impact the Olympics and Paralympics will have on the profession, others are looking at the debacle of the West Coast mainline franchise bid process.  Others still have been observing the problems of BAE Systems as they sought an alliance with EADS and wondering how this impact defence programmes.  Then there is the looming issue of power – or lack of it – as further problems emerge over new nuclear projects.  On top of all this, the professional societies have also been very active.

BAE Merger

As most readers will know, BAE have not merged with EADS.  After an agonizing public courtship, the two major Defence Contractors in Europe were not able to overcome lingering problems of National interests.  In some ways, this is a pity as the combined group would be of a similar scale to Boeing with a £30 billion value and would be in a strong position to compete in both military hardware and aerospace sectors.  However, national interests in the two firms prevented a new giant emerging.

According to reports in the UK press, the need for a merger arose when BAE and EADS lost a bid worth $10 billion to build more than 100 Eurofighters for the Indian Government.  Apparently, discussions had been held in the Spring to improve the sales pitch and then spread to group-wide talks about a merger in June.  Details were leaked at the Berlin Air Show in September.

Interestingly each f the 3 Governments involved (UL for BAE, France and Germany for EADS) had national stakes to safeguard.  Mostly these seem to have been about jobs and technological security and all three seem to have had similar views that prevented the merger.  For BAE, the failed move opened some unwelcome doors as various stakeholders became concerned over future profits.  However, according to the Sunday Times (14 Oct) the BAE Board seem to be on the brink of buying their way out of any difficulties using cash from the recent deal with Saudi Arabia to provide a Typhoon repair facility to buy back shares.  The cash barrel seems pretty full at BAE as they have also won major contracts to build the replacement Vanguard submarines (£315 million) and F-35 Integrated Assembly Line as par of the £1 billion programme.


To read entire report (click here)

About the Author


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 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 committees that are developing new ISO 21500 Guidelines 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].