Survival Hints for Project Business


Project Business Management


By Oliver F. Lehmann

Munich, Germany



“in time of crisis, character become visible”
Helmut Schmidt[1]



Project business is present when paying customers assign paid contractors to do project work for them under contract. The current Corona crisis poses specific risks for organizations and professionals involved. How can we respond to them?


Why the Corona Crisis Matters so Much for Project Business

Project business is at the core of today’s project economy: The move from cross-functional to cross-corporate projects.

Figure 1: Cross-corporate projects at the heart of project business management, driving the project economy

The current crisis met players in project business unprepared. Among all business disciplines, project business has the lowest number of experts, literature, software, and offerings for education. Most people and organizations involved in project business learn it by trial and error. However, trial in project business is expensive and error even more. Now, in a major crisis, trial and error are the direct way into insolvency.

Professionals and organizations need immediate help to survive the crisis, caused by the infamous Coronavirus. How should they respond to it?

For the moment being, we observe a breakdown of systems we rely on as project contractors and customers. Communications of course, is one of them, when we are forced to distance ourselves socially (e.g. here) and have to reduce contacts to online calls and meetings. Other systems impacted include conferences, congresses, and other physical events where project vendors and clients find each other. Even courts of law will be impacted, when they can no more convene, making it hard to resolve conflicts in a civilized manner (e.g. here).

In a major crisis, trial and error in project business are the direct way into insolvency.

Insolvencies will be another disruptive factor. I have long warned that bankrupt project contractors and customers can have a devastating effect on the success of a project’s mission. There is no doubt that we will see companies go bankrupt in huge numbers in the coming months, and we should be prepared that among them will be some of those with whom we make project 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. (2020). Survival Hints for Project Business; Series on Project Business Management; PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue IV, April.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/pmwj92-Apr2020-Lehmann-Survival-Hints-for-project-business.pdf



About the Author

Oliver F. Lehmann

Munich, Germany




Oliver F. Lehmann, MSc, ACE, PMP, is a project management author, consultant, speaker and teacher. 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:

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


[1] (Bundeskanzler-Helmut-Schmidt-Stiftung, 2020)