This paper describes an framework for the introduction of project management in the German trade sector, at a time when businesses are increasingly involved in inter-organisational activities, using an action research approach. The paper initially describes the project management issues particular to small and micro enterprises and explains why action research is conceptually the most appropriate research method for this project. The framework developed for the carrying out of this project is based on the necessary phases of the project and the resulting research cycles. Among the many questions raised, it is important to examine why project management has not been popular with this part of the production sector. Additionally we need to explore the special needs of the trade sector with its particular structure, the education of the employees, the size of the businesses, the manpower involved, typical projects and organisational issues.