About Me

Short Professional Biography

Roland Wanner

I have been working in the project business for over 30 years and have experienced many projects – successful and failed. After completing my training as a mechanical draughtsman, mechanical engineer and industrial engineer, I first worked for 5 years as a project manager and then for several years as a project controller and project portfolio manager in mechanical engineering and plant construction. For more than 10 years I have been working as a project management specialist, project portfolio manager and project office manager in the banking and insurance sector. As an author, I have published numerous successful books about my many years of experience with projects, project management and project portfolios.

I would be pleased if you contact me or visit my blog.

Roland Wanner

How Project Management Became a Part of my Life

Project Management in Mechanical Engineering

Already in 1981 as an apprentice machine draughtsman at Bühler Group in Uzwil/Switzerland (10’000 employees worldwide) I was confronted with projects at the age of 17. As a “project team member” I did simple detail drawings for machine components for large machine and plant projects. After my apprenticeship I completed my part-time studies as a mechanical engineer FH (Bachelor of Engineering).

With more experience and knowledge, I took on the first major projects and gained experience in project management. Project management is the most important core competence at the plant construction company Buhler and I profited significantly from it. While working, I then completed a postgraduate course in industrial engineering (Postgraduate Diploma of Business and Engineering), which further deepened my knowledge in business topics, management, and project management. After 19 years with the same company it was time for me to discover something new.Buhler Group Walzenstuhl

In 1999 I took over the newly created position as project controller at the technology company Starrag Group, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of precision machine tools. Here I had the unique opportunity to set up a new project control position At the same time I built up the project portfolio management for the company and was the interface between projects and the senior management. Here I also introduced contract and claim management, which had a very positive influence on the company’s profits in the following years..

Project Management Positions with Banks and Insurance Companies

In 2001 I made the move into the insurance industry to AXA as a project management specialist and later for several years to Helsana, Switzerland’s largest health insurer, where I was responsible for project management and deputy project portfolio manager. I was able to transfer a lot of project management know-how from mechanical engineering to the insurance companies and thus take them an important step further.

In 2008, I switched completely to project portfolio management at the reinsurer Swiss Re. There I was responsible for the project portfolios of two divisions and was able to deepen my project portfolio management experience from the pas.

At Bank UBS I gained my first experience as Program Office Manager in the worldwide implementation of an Operational Risk Management Software.

In the following years I worked as a contractor for companies such as KPMG, AXA-Winterthur and Zurich Insurance in various positions as a project management specialist, project portfolio manager and program office manager. In these companies I also got to know Scrum projects and worked with them.


So I Became a Textbook Author

I started writing my first book on Earned Value Management in 2002. It was released in September 2006. No wonder it took almost 4 years when you are fully employed, have a family and hobbies and are still a beginner in book writing.

Around the year 2005 Print on Demand (PoD) became better known. This means that one no longer needed a publisher and only had to deliver the print-ready PDF to the PoD service provider. The service provider linked to the book market, printed and delivered ordered books “on demand” to the book retailer, such as Amazon. As a result, the era of publishers as “talent filters” and barriers was finally over and everyone could publish their work. All my works were published via Print on Demand service providers, first via Books on Demand and later via Createspace and Amazon KDP.

My second book on Project Risk Management was published in October 2007. In this book I was able to pass on my experience in introducing project risk management to a large insurance company. My third major work was published in 2013 on project control. In between I have published short versions on these topics for readers who want to know the most important things quickly.

I am proud that my book on Earned Value Management and Project Control is the best-selling book in the German-speaking world and that the risk management book is only beaten by Tom DeMarco with the book “Waltzing with Bears”.

You may wonder why I write books. There are three reasons for this:

  1. For me, that is the best form of continuing education. That’s how I become an expert in a certain field.
  2. I like to pass on my comprehensive knowledge and a book is the ideal medium.
  3. As a book author you are considered an expert and this is very helpful when looking for new professional challenges and when acquiring new contracts.

Do you have a special challenge in project portfolio management, project control, program/project office or PMO or risk management? I can probably help you.

I would be pleased if you contact me and visit my blog.

Roland Wanner