June 2020 UK Project Management Round Up


Old Oak Common Station, Coronavirus infections, fast track vaccine development, BSI update on 2 new PM guides, HS2 & The High Court, Restoration of the Palace of Westminster; some Lesson Learned and – white storks and a near miss



By Miles Shepherd

Executive Advisor & International Correspondent

Salisbury, England, UK




Well, we are well into the 4th month of lockdown here in UK.  Most of us have become used to the lack of “normal” social contact, adapted our working lives and managed to continue to educate our children.  So, life continues but what we took to be normal is no longer available while most of us obey the lockdown rules.  There are always contrarians who challenge the rules introduced by the Government, claiming that there is no real problem and the virus is no worse that seasonal ‘flu.  I think the numbers show a somewhat different situation.

The situation is challenging in so many ways.  The news continues to be dominated by the pandemic, but life still goes on.  This month, I want to look at projects, both those that started Before the Virus (BTV) and those that started After the Virus (ATV).


Old Oak Common Station – Image: HS2

Good news for Europe’s largest civil engineering project, High Speed 2 (HS2) passed another milestone in May as plans for its major hub station were approved after Prime Ministerial approval for the £100 Billion programme.  Old Oak Common will be one of only four on the first leg of the line between central London and Birmingham.  It is planned to open in 2029 and will eventually cater for 250,000 passengers a day.  It will be the biggest newly-built station in the UK. Other stations, such as Waterloo, are bigger but only after having been incrementally extended over the decades.  Old Oak Common will also be the country’s second busiest station, in terms of passenger numbers, ultimately accommodating 90 million people a year, putting it behind only Waterloo.  Old Oak Common station is to be built at the site of a former Great Western Railway depot and will cost £1.3 billion. Ground-work is underway prior to the building work, scheduled to start in the autumn.

The general good news is that corona virus Infections are fewer this month than last.  While this is good news, the not-so-good news is that while this reduction means fewer deaths, we are not out of the woods just yet.  More good news is that the testing regime is also improving but is still not as fast or reliable as needed.  At least something is out there so we can call this our Agile approach to testing.  Probably not, as we know the requirements, just can’t get the technology right – perhaps we just don’t know enough about the virus?  This should lead on to some learned consideration of Rumsfeld’s unknowns, but you all probably know this already – we are now in the domain of unknown unknowns.

This is certainly good news time for pharma projects with over 100 projects examining potential vaccines in five different lines.  Perhaps the most promising seem to be the re-purposing of existing drugs with retro-virals developed to slow HIV infections seemingly in the lead.  Pharma projects usually take many years to complete and are frequently run as a programme to identify likely candidates from a very large number of starters so the re-purposing approach can cut many years off development time as these drugs are already licenced for use.

Several candidate drugs are in clinical trials, in UK, USA and elsewhere.  The UK Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority introduced fast track routes for development and clinical trials in mid-March.  The University of Oxford Vaccine Group work moved into Phase 1 trials in healthy adult volunteers in mid-April after successful trials on monkeys. More than 1,000 immunisations have been completed and follow-up continues.  Calls for participants in 3 groups (56 – 59 year-olds; over 70 year-olds and children between 5 and 12 years old) for Phase 2 trials was issued on 22 May.  The phase 3 part of the study involves assessing how the vaccine works in a large number of people over the age of 18. This group will assess how well the vaccine works to prevent people from becoming infected and unwell with COVID-19.  No date has been announced for the Phase 3 trial but preliminary results are expected in mid-July

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca announced a $1.2 billion deal with the US government to produce 400 million doses of the as yet unproven coronavirus vaccine first produced in the Oxford Vaccine Group lab.  Astra has received more than $1bn of financial support from the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority for the development, production and delivery of the vaccine.  It is expected to supply 30 million doses to UK in September.  The global licensing agreement between the Oxford based developers and Cambridge-based Astrazeneca, covers the commercialisation and manufacturing of the vaccine, which still needs to pass safety and efficacy tests…



To read entire report, click here


How to cite this report: Shepherd, M. (2020).  June 2020 UK Project Management Roundup, PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue VI, June.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/pmwj94-Jun2020-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/.