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Episode 461: Improve Your Project Business Skills (Free)

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Today's topic is project business, which is what you get when companies organize their primary business activities in projects. They are sometimes called project-based, project-driven, or project-centric companies.

In particular, we are introducing The Project Business Study Book. The study book is a free, 118-page introduction to Project Business Management.

Joining us today are Oliver Lehmann and Martin Berneburg from the Project Business Foundation. I'm sure that they can give us a much better definition of what exactly project business is. In particular, we'll learn how it affects us, project managers' required skills when we manage a project that is considered part of project business versus when we manage one that isn't.

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Episode Transcript

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

Webinar Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: In this episode of The Project Management Podcast™, we show you how to improve your project business skills.

Hello, and welcome back to The Project Management Podcast™ at This is the live stream for Episode number 461, and I’m Cornelius Fichtner. How nice of you for joining us today, thank you.

Our topic in this live stream is project business, which from a company's perspective is what you get when the company organizes their primary business activities in two projects. They are sometimes called project-based, project-driven or project-centric companies.

And my guests today are Martin Berneburg and Oliver Lehmann from the Project Business Foundation at and I’m pretty sure that they can give us a much better definition of what exactly project business is, in particular, how it affects the required skills of us project managers when we manage a project that is considered to be part of project business, versus when we manage one that is not.

Video Presentation

Cornelius Fichtner: And now, let us bring everybody into the conversation here. There is Oliver. Hello, Oliver! Welcome to the program! Hi!

Oliver Lehmann: Hi, Cornelius!

Cornelius Fichtner: And, here we have, Martin. Hi Martin. Welcome to both of you.

Martin Berneburg: Hi, Cornelius! Always a pleasure. Hi, everyone!

Cornelius Fichtner: Thank you. So Oliver, you've been on the program before, right? Martin, I think this is your first appearance on The Project Management Podcast™, right?

Martin Berneburg: This is my very first time, yes!

Cornelius Fichtner: Wonderful! In that case, allow me to start with you and let's begin with the Project Business Foundation. Who is the Project Business Foundation and what is your role for the foundation?

Martin Berneburg: Well, the Project Business Foundation is an association for project managers working in, or getting involved with project business management, which means project set up and run as profit centers. This usually involves two or multiple organizations working together for a common project goal. Now that opens a whole new can of worms in necessary knowledge and skills needed for project managers in charge of such projects.

While research shows that by now these cross-corporate projects outnumber internal projects, we have found that no organization or association exists that addresses the need for project managers to acquire the specialized knowledge and skills. Oliver had already started to shed light on core project business management questions, and I am one who originally had to learn the ins and outs the very hard way by trial and error before I became a consultant.

So having met as volunteers at PMI, both Oliver and I quickly agreed that we wanted to create a platform to help the community to stop having to learn these skills the hard way. With Oliver’s deep research and my practical background, it was an obvious choice for me to take on the role as CEO to set the course for the foundation strategy, as well as ensure the execution of its programs. So we have a very good working relationship and are fortunate enough to have been joined by very capable colleagues and members who nudged us in the right direction with their own great ideas.

Cornelius Fichtner: Alright. Thank you very much, Martin. And now, Oliver, you've been on the program before. We talked about project business in the past. You're the President of the foundation. Would you give us a quick recap here? What is project business from the perspective of a project manager and maybe how does it differ from managing a project that is not considered a project business and to make it even harder, let's try to get this done in about 90 seconds?

Oliver Lehmann: I can do it in 10 seconds actually.

Cornelius Fichtner: Oh, let’s see.

Oliver Lehmann: One thing is internal project is cost center inside the organization. Profit done for a paying customer is a profit center. Project business deals with two groups here. One is those people who run the profit center. So that’s the contractor side. But we are also interested in the other side which is the customer side, where we have organizations that are not just doing a bit of procurement here and a bit of procurement there, where it’s not just an extended workbench that they use for the internal projects, but where projects are really done with contractors.

And not just with one contractor, they can be large networks. Sometimes with hundreds of contactors there. So it’s not just about having some procurement here and there. This is real business, business with two sides, buyers and sellers. And to make things even more complex: The sellers who act as contactors, they may be prime contractors, having subcontractors, and sub-subcontractors, and so on. So the can of worms, the new degree of complexity that we are finding here has so far not been addressed by anyone in project management so we are the first to do that.

Cornelius Fichtner: Excellent, thank you very much! And just for everybody, as a reminder, if you do have a question for Oliver and Martin here on the live stream, then please do go ahead and use the chat function either on YouTube or on Facebook and send the question over to us. I will bring it up and Oliver and Martin will be answering your question live on the air.

And now, we want to take a look at the Project Business Study Book, and I just remembered that, you know what? I forgot to bring in some branding for you guys. I have this sticker right there. So while we talk about the overall information on the handbook, let's have that ticker there at the bottom. And so Martin, why the Project Business Study Book, what's the idea behind it? Why did the foundation decide to publish it?

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: Business Acumen, Project Business, Project Business Management, Project Business Foundation

  • Last updated on .
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 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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