Educating Professionals for Project Supply Networks


Project Business Management


By Oliver F. Lehmann

Munich, Germany


“Learning never exhausts the mind”

Leonardo da Vinci


Similar to supply chains in manufacturing, Project Supply Networks (PSNs) emerge in projects and become increasingly complex. Organizations involved should prepare their project managers better to engineer and manage them.

Project Business on the Way into Trouble

The Czech Ministry of Defense is in the process of replacing its aging tracked infantry fighting vehicle of the originally Russian type BVP-2 with a new generation of vehicles. The number of vehicles to be procured is 210. Three companies submitted bids: General Dynamics European Land Systems, BAE Systems, and Rheinmetall.

On 5 November 2021, the Ministry announced that none of the bids submitted meets all the requirements and that they will accordingly not be considered further. to replace the aging BVP-2 infantry fighting vehicles. A total of 210 new vehicles were to be procured.

The Ministry said that a 15-member expert panel had evaluated the bids, and came to an unanimous assessment, stating that “The offers of all three bidders cannot be evaluated on the basis of the responses/documents submitted, as none of the bids meets all the requirements of the contracting authority. The deficiencies identified relate, for example, to missing or inaccurate information on the technical characteristics of the vehicles offered or incomplete information on cooperation with the Czech defense industry.”[1]

According to the statement, the offers did not sufficiently correspond to the stated requirements of the buyer and left too many questions open that needed to be answered to make the procurement decision. The suspension of the procurement program was not caused by technical insufficiencies or price tags, but by poor communications.

For many project buyers, this sounds familiar: Offers are too often not written with the needs and intentions of the customer in mind but with the own wishes what the seller intends to sell. This is often a cause of frustration for the customer not only during the business development phase, but also during delivery. The buyer makes it—at least in their own understanding—clear what they want and expect but sellers apparently don’t listen.

In the other direction, buyers often do not listen to sellers’ statements on what they are able to make and are prepared to deliver. This leads to Statements of work (SOWs) that are not feasible for sellers to fulfill, forcing the sellers to deliver what they have and can offer.

On the first glance this behavior seems to show a lack of empathy and attention span on both sides. Looking deeper, it is essentially a lack of professionalism of the people involved. And the root cause for this is poor education of project managers in matters of project business.

How can both sides improve for better projects and better business?


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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. (2021). Educating Professionals for Project Supply Networks, PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue XII, December. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/pmwj112-Dec2021-Lehmann-Education-for-PSMs-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: https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/oliver-f-lehmann/

[1] (Geiger, 2021)