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UK Project Management Roundup

REPORT

By Miles Shepherd

Executive Advisor & International Correspondent 

Salisbury, England, UK
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INTRODUCTION 

After the rather quiet time reported last month, May has proved to be pretty active; perhaps the hope of Spring has nurtured optimism and activity on the project scene.  Consequently, I have picked some of the optimistic forecasts as a focus this month.  We also take a look at the Government’s portfolio of projects and the latest major property development projects in the capital.

Hope Springs Eternal

While the headlines in many newspapers proclaim a continuing squeeze on the British economy, there are some signs of optimism buried on the business pages.  First comes a report from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), perhaps the major leading business lobbying group.

According to the CBI’s quarterly Service Sector Survey, there has been an upturn in activity with consumer services showing a sharp turnaround in business volumes.  The news is not uniformly good as the business & professional service sector, which includes project management specialists as well as accountancy, legal and marketing firms, saw activity staying broadly flat over the quarter.  Even this is not seen negatively since optimism regarding the business situation rose at its fastest rate since February 2010, as expectations for the next quarter are somewhat brighter.  While overall profitability fell, confidence seems to be growing – and this is broadly in line with other surveys such as Arras People’s PM trends survey.  Other good indicators include the Bank of England’s upgraded its growth forecast and cut back its inflation forecast.

Perhaps this increase in confidence has prompted a couple of new major developments in London.  First, a contract has been signed that will see a new business park developed next to London City Airport.  Beijing based ABP (Advanced Business Park) is expected to invest £1 billion in a 2 million sq ft park to the north of the Royal Albert Dock, in the heart of the Royal Docks Enterprise zone.  The 18th century dock was at the heart of old London economy and is close to the major new developments around Canary Wharf.  Widely reported in the Press, the development promises to be one of the largest investments in UK by a Chinese company as well as one of the first Chinese direct investments in property in London.  There is extensive Chinese investment in property holding companies such as Songbird Estates which owns Canary Wharf.

More…

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About the Author

MILES 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 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].