Project management skills in project-oriented businesses

Current challenges, competency models, certification models

Klaus Pannenbacker


1                       Attunement, background, objectives

Anyone has learned that each project had the right to his own environment, his idiosyncratic customer and his randomly selected team. Of the specific risks, the too late decisions, the special requests, our own mistakes through lack of coordination, the incompetent experts and many more failures will not be spoken. Each project managing practitioner cannot imagine that all these people-related deficiencies could be regulated in common guidelines.

In the project no machines and no information systems work together, but agile, highly motivated and less motivated people, overburdened and under-challenged, older and younger, disappointed and enthusiastic, friendly and unfriendly, honest, loyal and deceitful … These comparisons indicate, in which social environment projects are planned and carried out. From this mixture of feelings, capabilities, skills as well as facts, figures, tasks and objectives can be easily deduced that projects do not require a cooperative and democratic but an ultimately strict hierarchy of leadership and responsibility. To bring about a consensus of all parties is ultimately as impossible as to allow and enable each party his complete self-fulfillment. The optimum lies as in nature in a healthy mixture.

Hence, the project manager and his team move in the centre of the following considerations:  Of which wood and how must particularly the project managers be carved? Which abilities, qualifications, talents and skills must they bring along for the “appointment” of a manager of projects? And how can these talents be formed and funded as well as examined (certified)?


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About the Author


Founder, Former President & Chair

German PM Association

Former President & Chair, Fellow


Erlangen, Germany

Klaus Pannenbäcker is currently a teacher, coach and certification assessor of project management for the 4-Level-Certification System of IPMA in Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Poland, Hungary, Egypt, Russia, Ukrainian, India, Iceland, Portugal and South Africa. He is a member of an international network for R&D of new technologies in manufactories and of process development in public operations. Klaus Pannenbäcker is one of the best known figures in the world of professional project management and a leading figure in the German project management community.

Former president and current member of the “Advisory Board” of the German Project Management Association (GPM – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Projektmanagement), Klaus previously served as vice president, president and Chair of the International Project Management Association (IPMA) and remains active in the IPMA network of researchers and assessors. He remains a Project Management AWARD Assessor for GPM, First Assessor of GPM / PM-ZERT and First Foreign Assessor for IPMA in 12 countries. 2010-13 he started as Partner in Romania an EU financed Project to implement PM in middle sized Companies. Since 2010 he is member of the IPMA Research SIG “Development PM Competences”.

Klaus began his 52-year career at Siemens AG (1959-1969), where he developed and implemented cost calculations for site assembled construction of industrial plants; During 1969-1981, he developed codes, standards and a project management office for Kraftwerkunion AG, a Daughter Company of Siemens AG. From 1981 until retiring in 2001, Klaus was owner and managing director at GABO Anlagentechnik und Prozessmanagement GmbH, where he managed the development and implementation of GABO software „Re-Documentation“ used to update technical documentation (as built) for all faculties and for synchronic labeling of mechanical systems, electrical equipment and I&C installations in power plants in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Iceland and South Africa. Gabo also developed and implemented project management via Project Management Office (PMO) in companies of plant engineering and operations plant operation, especially of power plants. He has also served as Associate Professor at universities of applied science of project management in Riedlingen, Ulm, and Hannover.

A 1959 Engineering Graduate of the University of Applied Science in Dortmund, Klaus achieved extensive technical and management training over the course of his career and became an expert and leader in the project management field based on experience, training and involvement in GPM and IPMA. Klaus is also a global advisor to PM World.  Klaus Pannenbacker lives in Erlangen near Nuremberg, in Southern Germany, and can be contacted at [email protected].