A Project Business Healing Day


Project Business Management


By Oliver F. Lehmann

Munich, Germany

“Imbalanced systems, whether internal or external, will tend to polarize.”
Richard C. Schwartz, Psychologist and family therapist


A Project Business Healing Day can be a powerful tool to turn quarreling project parties into project partners and bring the project back on track. However, as a facilitator, one should understand the dynamics of the event and how one can contribute to its success.

Healing A Project Business Relationship

This case study goes back to the year 2017, when a Scandinavian company, let’s call them Western Software Service (WSS)[1], performed a software development and implementation project under contract for a customer located in an Arabic country, which we will call here Middle East Asset Administration (MEAA).

The Scandinavian company had three subcontractors involved with the project, and all parties were frustrated about the project’s slow progress.

Figure 1 shows the structure of this relatively small Project Supply Network.


Figure 1: The case study’s Project Supply Network (PSN).

During the project, friction grew between the organizations, slowing down the project and jeopardizing the project’s success. I was called for help, and we agreed on a joint Project Business Healing Day, a one-day workshop to bring the project back on track.

Here is what I learned during the preparation of the workshop and while it was carried out:

  1. For the customer, it took longer to get the software finished and running.
  2. For the prime contractor, the delays came with negative cash flow – the customer made incremental payments based on achievements during the project (milestones). Still, the subcontractors expected monthly payments from the prime contractor. As the milestone came late, the outlays made by the prime contractor more and more stretched its credit line.

Another problem for the contractor was the diminishing profitability of the project. The subcontractors were paid on a time-and-material (T&M) basis, and the delays increased the costs for the prime contractor.


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Editor’s note: This series of articles is by Oliver Lehmann, author of the book “Project Business Management” (ISBN 9781138197503), published by Auerbach / Taylor & Francis in 2018. See author profile below.

How to cite this article: Lehmann, O.F. (2022). A Project Business Healing Day, PM World Journal, Vol. XI, Issue III, March. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/pmwj115-Mar2022-Lehmann-Project-Business-Healing-Days-PBM-series-article.pdf

About the Author

Oliver F. Lehmann

Munich, Germany


Oliver F. Lehmann, MSc, ACE, PMP, is a project management educator, author, consultant, and speaker. In addition, he is the President of the Project Business Foundation, the home association for professionals and organizations involved in cross-corporate projects.

He studied Linguistics, Literature and History at the University of Stuttgart and Project Management at the University of Liverpool, UK, where he holds a Master of Science Degree. Oliver has trained thousands of project managers in Europe, USA and Asia in methodological project management with a focus on certification preparation. In addition, he is a visiting lecturer at the Technical University of Munich.

He has been a member and volunteer at PMI, the Project Management Institute, since 1998, and served as the President of the PMI Southern Germany Chapter from 2013 to 2018. Between 2004 and 2006, he contributed to PMI’s PM Network magazine, for which he provided a monthly editorial on page 1 called “Launch”, analyzing troubled projects around the world.

Oliver believes in three driving forces for personal improvement in project management: formal learning, experience and observations. He resides in Munich, Bavaria, Germany and can be contacted at oliver@oliverlehmann.com.

Oliver Lehmann is the author of the books:

His previous articles and papers for PM World Journal can be found here:


[1] All names changed