April 2020 UK Supplemental Report

29 March 2020




By Miles Shepherd

Executive Advisor & International Correspondent

Salisbury, England, UK




As the old saying goes, we live in interesting times and things are changing rapidly so almost as soon as I filed my monthly report a week ago, new counter-measures were announced and some reactions from the Project World have emerged so I would like to share these with you.

Level of “Threat”

It is always difficult to judge the level of threat and there is much speculation in the scientific world.  There are, however, some tell-tale signs to be observed through careful reading of press reports.  Perhaps the most alarming was the closure of public houses (pubs, taverns, inns etc) in the whole of Ireland.  What made it more worrying was the timing – just before St Patrick’s Day.  In UK, this has been matched by the curtailed filming of Crossroads, perhaps the most depressing TV soap opera on the planet.  Older viewers will also have been alarmed by the reduction in episodes of The Archers.  This is nothing to do with Robin Hood and is the world’s oldest radio soap opera.  The programme will now be cut back from 5 episodes to 4 per week and the omnibus edition on Sundays will be curtailed, too.  This is the first sign of rationing in this country since the Suez Crisis, in 1956.

Other broadcast events, from sports to arts, have also been dropped, offered in reduced form or represented by repeats of old editions.  This takes people differently, different strokes for different folks, so to speak.  However, the news is not all bad as the Eurovision Song Contest for this year has been cancelled, freeing up a whole evening of national humiliation as UK attracts Nil Points from numerous judges.

Positive News

The news this past month has not all been negative, as indicated above.  Some signs of a return to more civilised ways can be seen in the press, on television and in the streets (only for those allowed out, and that is precious few of us these days).  Perhaps the most unlikely sign is the return to a more courteous House of Commons where Ministers have been acknowledging the part played by opposition Members, ceding the floor to other Members of Parliament to allow clarification of intent and to field problems notified.  Furthermore, we are having an exercise in open Government with daily Ministerial briefings led by the Prime Minister and supported by expert advisers who field questions via video link.  There is a steady stream of Ministers on the morning news programmes and they have generally shown themselves to be effective, on top of their briefs, prepared to accept criticism and react positively when something comes up that they cannot answer.

All very encouraging.  This is reflected in other parts of the country where large numbers of citizens are offering help to neighbours, helping out with shopping, instructing the technologically illiterate how to use basic apps such as Skype, FaceTime and the like in order to stay in touch with friends and loved ones.  Nearly a million people of all ages have responded to the Prime Minister’s appeal for volunteers to support the NHS – he asked for a quarter of that number.  And perhaps the biggest blessing of them all is that BREXIT has been push off not just the front pages but out of the media entirely!  Bliss!

Project World Reactions

As indicated in my main report, there have been many other upside impacts to COVID-19.  While most small businesses are shutting up shop for the duration, some will not re-open, with many much-loved outlets lost to their local residents.  The toll is not limited to small businesses either.  We have seen the virus provide the last straw for several well-known firms such as fabric and decorating flagship Laura Ashley, cut-price phone retailer Carphone Warehouse and sandwich empire EAT all bite the dust in the first skirmishes with COVID-19; no doubt there will be other big name casualties in the weeks ahead. We can but hope that the entrepreneurs will find opportunities for new start-ups.  The latest casualty is space start-up OneWeb which filed for bankruptcy protection in USA shortly after the launch of its latest payload of 34 satellites, bringing its total number of satellites in orbit up to 74, at the end of March.  OneWeb was in competition with SpaceX and other companies to beam global high-speed internet to Earth from space…



To read entire report, click here


How to cite this report: Shepherd, M. (2020).  March 2020 UK Project Management Roundup, PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue IV, April.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/pmwj92-Apr2020-Shepherd-UK-Supplemental-Report.pdf



About the Author

Miles Shepherd

Salisbury, UK




Miles Shepherd is an executive editorial advisor and international correspondent for PM World Journal 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, Vice President and Fellow of the Association for Project Management (APM), Miles is also past president and chair and a Fellow of the International Project Management Association (IPMA).  He was a Director for PMI’s Global Accreditation Centre and is immediate past Chair of the ISO committee developing new international standards for Project Management and for Program/Portfolio Management.  Miles is Chair of the British Standards Institute’s Committee on Project, Programme and Portfolio Management and has been involved in the development of Uk’s BSI 6079 for more than 25 years.  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 miles.shepherd@msp-ltd.co.uk.

To view other works by Miles Shepherd, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/miles-shepherd/.