Sleepless in Project Management


Project Business Management


By Oliver F. Lehmann

Munich, Germany



“If a composer suffers from loss of sleep and his sleeplessness induces him
to turn out masterpieces, what a profitable loss it is!”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry



Listening to project managers can bring many new insights. Here are results of surveys done over a time of seven years, that show how the profession has changed and what keeps project managers sleepless at night.

Surveys Revisited – What Happened Meanwhile?

An interesting question in project management is, what gives project managers sleepless nights. They have to meet different challenges in different projects. Some projects have static requirements from the onset, in others, they are ever changing, and in a third group, no one can tell the project manager, what these requirements are. Project managers have to find that out.

Another major difference are customer projects versus internal projects. The first are mostly profit centers, the latter cost centers.

How common are these different project types?

One of the greatest inventions of the age of the Internet is the availability to survey groups of people with simple and affordable means. This allows us to gain new knowledge about professions such as project management and adjust offerings for services to them, such as training or writing and publishing articles like this one.

It can be an even more interesting exercise, when the surveys are repeated so that older results get confirmed, or not, and the dynamics of the profession become visible. In this article, I report of such a survey I did between June and November 2019. This article is the first to publish the results that repeat older surveys.

Another opportunity that comes with these surveys is the ability to listen, instead of telling practitioners, what their practice is. While practices are changing, many basic principles are universal. Active listening over surveys are a great way to gather knowledge from that.

I made a decision in spring 2019 to do another survey repeating older ones. Here are the results.


To read entire article, click here


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. (2019). Sleepless in Project Management; Series on Project Business Management; PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue XI, December.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/pmwj88-Dec2019-Lehmann-Sleepless-in-PM-PBM-series-article2.pdf



About the Author

Oliver F. Lehmann

Munich, Germany




Oliver F. Lehmann, MSc., PMP, is a project management author, consultant, speaker and teacher. 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 five years as the President of the PMI Southern Germany Chapter until April 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 “Situational Project Management: The Dynamics of Success and Failure” (ISBN 9781498722612), published by Auerbach / Taylor & Francis in 2016 and ofProject Business Management” (ISBN 9781138197503), published by Auerbach / Taylor & Francis in 2018.

To view other works by Oliver Lehmann, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/oliver-f-lehmann/