December 2020 UK Project Management Round Up


Covid-19 – some mostly GOOD NEWS; COVID-19 – Some BAD NEWS; BREXIT; OTHER BAD NEWS (Skills Shortages, Stonehenge Tunnel, Impact of WFH); MORE GOOD NEWS; MEDICAL GOOD NEWS; OTHER BAD NEWS; SEASONAL COMMENT (on Brussel Sprouts); and a Royal project at Sandringham



By Miles Shepherd

Executive Advisor & International Correspondent

Salisbury, England, UK




It is always pleasing to start with something good although whether you agree with my optimism is something else entirely.  Anyway, to the point, the United Kingdom is coming out of national lockdown and moving to a more nuanced response.  Personally, I’ve always liked nuanced, sounds rather grown up and sophisticated.  This more adult stance should let us to be trusted to behave responsibly so I am hoping for a near normal Christmas – more on this later.

The news this month is much the same as last month, in outline at least, and revolves around COVID-19 and BREXIT.  There is other news, of course, so you can be reminded of some of the lessons Project Managers can pass on to our colleagues, friends, families and even politicians.  I’ll be looking at the two major topics plus more medical good news, some not so good news including a reflection on the world of Agile IT development and closing with some seasonal items.

COVID-19 – Some mostly GOOD NEWS

The most obvious good news as far as COVID is concerned is the progress with vaccines to prevent infection.  According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are more than 200 COVID vaccine programmes underway around the World.  Some are being run by well known big pharma firms, others by start-ups and yet others by university research departments.  We have had a variety of reports over the last few months, keeping us in touch with progress, problems and possibilities, so many commentators have not said much recently.  We have even had two of the best-known pharma companies reminding us that vaccine development usually takes a long time.  Thus it is a nice surprise to learn that some competitors in the race to develop an effective and safe treatment are doing so well.

In the past month, we have had not one result, but four!  First out of the block was the team from Pfizer and Biontech who weighed in with an effective rate of 90%.  They were followed a few days later by similar news from US company Moderna, also claiming 90+% effectiveness.  Next in line was the so-called Sputnik 5 vaccine from Russia’s Gamaleya Research Centre, claiming 92% immunity.  Last, but not least was the AstraZeneca and Oxford University vaccine.  This latter vaccine claims between 70 and 90% effectiveness.

All these results are promising, as Prof Charles Bangham, chair of immunology at Imperial College London, said the results “provide further reassurance that it should be possible to produce an effective vaccine against Covid-19”.  Prof Bangham went on to say that proper evaluation of the safety and efficacy of all the vaccines is needed when full data on the trials is published.  Others, including University of Edinburgh’s Prof Eleanor Riley, worried that data had been rushed out too soon.

Image: Reuters

Image: Times of India

 Certainly, the challenges following the AstraZeneca/Oxford press release seems to support a cautious view.  Questions are being asked about their vaccine trials since it was revealed that a small set of participants received less than a full dose initially, followed later by a full dose.  The Independent newspaper reports AstraZeneca’s chief executive Pascal Soriot admitting that they need to carry out “additional study” to validate the efficacy data they have released.  Three data sets were reported: an overall efficacy of 70%, a lower one of 62% and a high of 90%.  The AstraZeneca vaccine requires 2 injections about a month apart.  They claim that different doses of the vaccine were mistakenly used in the trial. Some volunteers were given shots half the planned strength, in error.  Yet that “wrong” dose turned out to be a winner.


To read entire report, click here

How to cite this report: Shepherd, M. (2020). UK Project Management Roundup, PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue XII, December. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/pmwj100-Dec2020-Shepherd-UK-Regional-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/.