September 2021 UK Project Management Round Up


Project Curator, Space Projects, Summer Projects, Wildlife Projects, Space Projects, Film Projects, Traditional Projects and a Salute to Japan



By Miles Shepherd

Executive Advisor & International Correspondent

Salisbury, England, UK


This has been a very dispiriting month and there is little good news in the UK project world.  We should still be in the Silly Season (see last month’s report) with all the light-hearted action to report.  Instead, we have had a very unexpected emergency project, poorly handled despite the best efforts of the British Armed Forces.  This event is too raw for comment, so I won’t – instead I’ve trawled the media and have news of project action from a UK space port, some wildlife projects, sporting programmes and a bit on film projects

Before we get into the meat of the action, I have a new term to add to the Project Lexicon.  I came across a strange beast called a Project Curator.  My Shorter Oxford Dictionary tells me that a curator is a keeper or custodian of a museum or other collection.  An alternative definition identifies a curator as someone who selects acts to perform at a music festival.  From these “classical” definitions, it is difficult to see how a curator fits into a project.  So I turned to Wikipedia (I am a subscriber – more people should support this immensely useful site) and what do I find?

Project role:  A curator (from Latin: cura, meaning “to take care”) is a manager or overseer. When working with cultural organizations, a curator is typically a “collections curator” or an “exhibitions curator”, and has multifaceted tasks dependent on the particular institution and its mission.

So now you know, if you see your project as a cultural organization, you certainly need a curator!  And now, on with the news…


It never fails to amaze me that UK has a National Space Centre, complete with six galleries and located in Leicester, a co-located National Space Academy and, as reported in last month’s news, two potential Space Ports.  However, on reflection, an industry that generates £13 Billion annually needs a strong infrastructure and education base so these facilities should come as no surprise.

The latest space news comes from Benbecula, a delightful small town I know well, on North Uist in the Outer Hebrides.  The news is good – Spaceport 1 has launched a commercial rocket from the UK ahead of the planned opening of a spaceport.    The rocket used High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) for fuel.

Spaceport 1’s site at Scolpaig, North Uist, is one of several proposed locations for licenced spaceports in the UK. In Scotland, these include Unst in Shetland, the A’ Mhoine peninsula in Sutherland, Prestwick in South Ayrshire and Campbeltown in Argyll and Bute.
Image: Jeff Holmes/PA

Spaceport 1 joined forces with East Anglian firm Gravitilab Aerospace Services to launch the flight test vehicle, named after Ada Lovelace, Countess Lovelace, daughter of the poet Lord Byron.  Ada was a 19th century English mathematician considered by many to be the world’s first computer programmer.  She is also the inspiration for the programming language used for real time platforms and secure computing.

Spaceport 1 is a consortium led by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council), which plans to open spaceport in the Western Isles at Scolpaig, North Uist in 2022, for commercial, sub-orbital space launches.  Mark Roberts, Spaceport 1 programme director, said: “This is a historic moment for Spaceport 1, the Outer Hebrides, Scotland and the UK.

“Our unique partnership with Gravitilab allows us to improve our procedures and progress towards a viable spaceport in North Uist.

“It opens up not only a route to space for inclusive, enterprising ventures like Gravitilab, but also offers this remote area of Scotland a chance to build a thriving business, bringing much-needed quality jobs to this region.”

There are also sites in Northern England competing for recognition as the UK Space Port.  The field seems very crowded so this is an important milestone for Spaceport 1.


The lock down has seen several wildlife projects where the wider population can participate.  Two annual events are the Bee & Butterfly counts.  These are citizen science projects to study threatened species.  You may not have heard of them, but last year the Bee count attracted 23,000 participants who spotted more than 830,000 bees in the count period.


To read entire report, click here

How to cite this work: Shepherd, M. (2021). UK Project Management Roundup, report, PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue IX, September. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/pmwj109-Sep2021-Shepherd-UK-project-management-roundup-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/.