PMI® Switzerland Chapter


Chapter Communications Blog

Get to Know Dr Andrea Behrends

alp vesikalik  

Author: Alp Camci, PMP

Get to Know our members - an interview with Dr Andrea Behrends 

In the first of a new series of extended Get to Know articles, Alp Camci interviews Dr Andrea Behrends, president and chair of AB&P who was also the founder and first president of PMI Switzerland.

Could you please tell the readers about yourself like your specialized fields, current role, your motivation in being a member of the Swiss Chapter or any other relevant information about yourself which you would like to share?  

Dr Behrends

I am leading my company AB&P, with headquarters in Switzerland and offices in major business areas around the world. AB&P specializes in Project Management Training, Coaching and Consulting. In addition, I am president of the board of directors of FKC Switzerland AG. FKC is one of the biggest e-learning providers in Germany.  As founder of PMI Switzerland and president for the first 4 years I am deeply attached to the Chapter. I broadened my knowledge, developed business ideas and gained friends in the Chapter.  

Could you please tell us your previous and current participation in the PMI-CH Chapter?

I am the first president of the PMI Switzerland Chapter, from the year 2001, when it was founded, until 2005. I continued to participate as speaker or volunteer in Basel. Often I simply join interesting Chapter events and meet friends.

As the first president of the Swiss Chapter, could you please tell us your experiences in setting up the chapter?

We started the PMI Chapter in Basel with a group of my friends who were also working as project managers or project management instructors. A friend of mine came from Freiburg im Breisgau and shared his experiences from Germany. At the first meeting to constitute the provisional Chapter board we needed a quorum of 24 people. A very cautious friend predicted that we would not get this through our network. But (!) we received a quorum of 36 participants voting for us. After a year of work with PMI we were able to do the first elections and founded the Chapter with all necessary legal and regulatory details. Our work is voluntary and we enjoyed our success and ever since I contribute to the Chapter.

Could you share your thoughts about the development of the Swiss Chapter since 2002 until today and your vision about the future of PMI-CH?

There were several milestones we mastered, one I would like to highlight here: In the early years, the idea came up to split the Switzerland Chapter in several smaller Chapters, at least 2, one for the German speaking region and one for the French part of Switzerland. We discussed this and finally voted against it. I believe that this was a wise move. We have a vivid exchange between the local groups at the moment and still are big enough to compare ourselves with the biggest PMI Chapters in Europe. That gives us the advantage of having the recourses to organize big events and to be seen in Europe.

Furthermore, the community becomes more and more international and that is also my vision for the future of PMI-CH. We can give a home to all those project managers who come from abroad to Switzerland and at the same time provide an international experience for those who are Swiss and work locally.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a Project Manager?

Stakeholder management tops all other challenges, I believe. The communication with the team, the sponsors, all other effected by the project and those you forgot to speak to. That is something I always push a bit to the side, as my personal strength is in risk management, high level planning and steering committee meetings, i.e. high level problem analysis and solving.

How do you see the Project Management role evolving over the coming years?

I think it is becoming even more important. In big projects, I face often the situation that a full IT team, for example an Oracle team, is integrated into a business project team, for example inclusion or merger with an external business unit. The IT project team and the business project team sometimes don’t speak the same language. IT teams have the tendency to split off and do their own thing which sooner or later creates problems. The future project manager should be able to speak the many languages of the project world, such as Prince, Scrum or company own methodologies.

How do you see PMI in terms of participating in the development of the “project management” profession?

PMI is doing a very professional job providing solutions from local to global level

Any other thoughts and information you would like to share with our readers?

Being a project manager certifies that you are a creative problem solver and leader who seeks a new challenge with every new project.

PMIEF-Medair Workshop

PMI Switzerland Chapter Social Good team workshop with Medair

Ka Yi Hui 100x100

Author: Ka Yi Hui, PMP

On Friday 26th October 2018, the PMI-Switzerland chapter social good team (Agata Czopek, Ph.D., PMP; Devendra Rana, PMP and Ka Yi Hui, Ph.D., PMP) held a 5-hour project management training workshop at the Medair headquarters in Ecublens, Canton Vaud.

Medair is a humanitarian organization inspired by Christian faith to relieve human suffering in some of the world’s most remote and devastated places. In 2017, Medair served more than 2.1 million people in 13 countries. The staff in the Switzerland headquarters play an essential role in facilitating and supporting the teams in the local target countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.


In 2018, they welcomed the new CEO, David Verboom, to further Medair's mission. New initiatives are rolled out to improve efficiency, impact and flexibility, so the organization can grow and better adapt to the increasingly challenging and changing contexts in which it operates. As the need for managing projects increases, that’s where we jump in and promote the best practices in project management and the activities in the PMI Switzerland chapter.

We were happy that the whole organization showed great interest in project management. The 20 participants came from different departments, from logistics to finance, marketing and human resource. We covered the project management fundamentals, like the typical project cycle, the benefit of project management and avoiding scope creep. They also took the chance to work on their internal project planning template as an exercise. The participants were engaged in the discussions and Q&A session.


Medair not only provides humanitarian aid in areas with on-going crises but they also respond to emergencies like the Tsunami in Indonesia. The staff in the HQ are always ready to travel to the field and help those in need. This dynamic nature of their work poses a unique challenge for the organization when it comes to managing the human resources in projects. Because of that, we dedicated a session in the workshop focusing on this topic.


To practice the project management principles they have learned, we played the entertaining tower game (provided freely by PMIEF), where the participants built a tower with plastic cups and bamboo sticks. With their creativity and pragmatic approach, all the teams were able to complete the task on time, with spared resources, good quality, and some laughter. After the game, we reflected on the process together, discussing different leadership styles, teamwork, communications and what makes a successful project.


Finally, we would like to thank Andrew and Artur from Medair for helping us to organize the workshop. We look forward to going back there next year!