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Episode 449: Project Business Is A Critical Corporate Success Factor (Free)

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Matt and Henrik
Matt Mong and Henrik Lerkenfeld

What type of project are you currently working on? Is it an internal project, where your own company pays for everything or is it an external project, where an external customer pays your bills? If you are part of the second group, then your project falls into what we call project business.

And now look at your company and the projects you deliver as a whole. Do you see mostly internal projects or external projects? Well… If your company’s products and services are delivered to your clients through projects, your company is a project business.

That means that the term project business is used to classify both individual projects and organizations as a whole. Both are project business. Confused? We can help.

Today we welcome Matt Mong and Henrik Lerkenfeld of Adeaca to look at the term project business from the perspective of a company.

In our conversation, we define the term project business from that angle, we discuss the central characteristics of a project business, briefly talk about some challenges, and look at why productivity in project business is lagging behind other areas like manufacturing or retail.

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Episode Transcript

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

Podcast Introduction

Matt Mong: In this episode of The PM Podcast™, we will see how identifying your company as a project business can be a critical success factor for your organization.

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome back to The Project Management Podcast™ at www.pm-podcast.com. This is Episode 449 and I’m Cornelius Fichtner. Nice of you to stop by.

What type of project are you currently working on? Is it an internal project where your own company pays for everything? Or is it an external company where an external customers pays your bills? If you are part of the second group then your project falls into what we call project business.

And now, look at your company and all the projects that you deliver as a whole. Do you see mostly internal projects or external projects? Well, if your company’s products and services are delivered to your clients through projects primarily then your company is a project business. That means that the term project business is used to classify both individual projects and organizations as all. Both are project business. Confused? Well we can help.

Today, we welcome Matt Mong and Henrik Lerkenfeld to look at the term project business from the perspective of a company. In our conversation, we defined the term ‘project business’ from that angle. We discuss the central characteristics of a project business. Briefly talked about some challenges, and a look at why productivity in project business is lacking behind other areas like manufacturing or retail.

And since we are talking about project business today, allow me to remind you that I not only offer project management training for individuals but also for corporations. So if you are looking to provide project management training for your company, for your business then please visit www.pm-podcast.com/corporate to see what I offer. Let’s talk.

And now, enjoy the interview.

Podcast

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello, Henrik and welcome to the Project Management Podcast™!

Henrik Lerkenfeld: Hello, Cornelius! Good to be here.

Cornelius Fichtner: And also, hello, Matt! Welcome to the program.

Matt Mong: Thanks for having us.

Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah. So Matt, you are the VP Marketing and Communications of Adeaca and Henrik is the Head of Product Development at Adeaca. Normally, we invite project managers directly from the field and we talk about their challenges. Today, we have more the business side of a company here. What can our listeners expect to learn from our discussion today that will help them better understand project business?

Matt Mong: I think our listeners will learn a lot about new ways to approach their business. We’re going to talk a lot about project business as a term and how we define it, and why it is important. It will really enable people to change their focus and hone in on what really matters to the company thinking bigger beyond just project management but really thinking about the project business as a whole.

Cornelius Fichtner: Right. And In that case, let’s switch over to Henrik because we want to start with the term “project business” itself. Henrik, how do you, how does Adeaca define what ‘project business’ means?

Henrik Lerkenfeld: Well, we kind of define it like, let’s call the macro industry. It’s like when you talk about manufacturing, distribution, and retail, similarly, we feel that there should be a term ‘project business’ which talks about all of the subindustries like construction, engineering, ETO, manufacturing, professional services but a term that describes all of those kind of subindustries just like manufacturing can be divided into a whole lot of subindustries. We think it makes sense to have a similar concept for their 20, 25 percent of companies in the world that are project businesses.

And the reason we feel this is relevant is because all these different project industries while they are different, they actually have much more in common than differences. And so we feel that term needs to be there so that we can identify them as a group having similar requirements.

Also of course, we’re not talking about a company that runs the one-off project to let’s say a shoe manufacturer that does 90 projects at a time get to a new product line. That’s not a project business. It really needs to be a company that generates the line share of the revenue from projects. And also it follows from that these companies, project businesses completely dependent on their ability to efficiently deliver projects to their customers.

Cornelius Fichtner: And let’s also look back to an interview that we had with Oliver Lehmann a couple of episodes ago here and look at the difference in definition. When I spoke with Oliver, we talked about project business from the perspective of the project manager: ‘I am a project manager. I am managing a project for external client. That client is paying me. That’s why my project falls into the category of project business.’ But today, we are looking at this from the organizational perspective, right? ‘We are a company. Our main core business is to deliver projects to our clients. Therefore, we the company, we are a project business.’ Did I distinguish that correctly?

Henrik Lerkenfeld: I think that’s pretty much spot on, yeah!

Cornelius Fichtner: Wonderful. So let’s see what your personal interest here in project business. So Henrik, what is your personal interest in project business? What makes it important for you personally?

Henrik Lerkenfeld: Ever since I’ve been working in the industry working with software and consultancy and those kinds of areas, I have always been working with project businesses and I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of different types of project businesses including construction engineering and also professional services companies.

And so from early on, I notice that even though the industry was different, it was having the similar challenge every time. They all have these projects they need to manage. It doesn’t really matter if they are building a bridge or if they are setting up a turnkey factory. Many of the challenges are exactly the same.

And so I was working within the field for a number of years and when I got the opportunity to join Adeaca and actually make solutions for project businesses, I jumped at the chance and that kind of what brought me here today.

Cornelius Fichtner: Matt, what is it for you?

Matt Mong: Well, I mean, I’ve been here at Adeaca for about three years and when we first got here, I think we were struggling with how to communicate what it is that we do and the benefits we provide to the market. We’ll talk about this later but what it is that we do doesn’t really exist in the market.

And so, we were struggling with those type of communication. What’s our message, and we kind of stumbled upon this concept of project business and a new category of solutions that’s called project business automation. We presented that to our customers and it just immediately clicked.

We went out there and we found the term being used more and more, and the concept the project business was growing, we just felt it was really good to get in on the ground for this movement around project business.

Cornelius Fichtner: And Matt frankly, your experience about what is project business exactly mirrors my experience as well. Three years ago, if you had asked me what is project business, I wouldn’t have known. Because it was an emerging term even though it has been around since 2010, 2011 when one of the first papers came out about it.

I’ve done The Project Management Podcast™ for 15 years now. This is only the second interview on the topic and the second interview in the same month. So it is really, it’s almost an emerging area of project management of the business environment.

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only. Please subscribe to our Premium Podcast to receive a PDF transcript.

PDUs: Strategic and Business Management, Project Business

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Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM, is the host and the author at The Project Management Podcast. He has welcomed hundreds of guests and project management experts to the podcast and has helped over 60,0000 students prepare for their PMP Exam. He has authored dozens of articles on projectmanagement.com and PM World 360. He speaks at conferences around the world about project management, agile methodology, PMOs, and Project Business. Follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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