Project Management Professional, (PMP®), must earn 60 Professional Development Units, (PDU), in each 3 year period. This ensures that the credential holder both maintains their credential and doesn't need to re-write the project management exam. While there are many methods that earn renewal credits, writing a journal article can be particularly rewarding. Many people have difficulty claiming credits in this manner, however, due to both real and imagined obstacles.
Create a project management article that is worthy of publishing
The only articles that earn credits are those that pertain to project management which are published in a journal. Unfortunately, blog posting is not acceptable. As well, there are few publishing opportunities as many journals have very restrictive submission policies. Finding a journal that is non-refereed which welcomes articles describing project management topics has been very difficulty until now.
Follow basic pointers on how to write a good project management topic
Having found a qualified, relevant journal, many people are faced with the daunting task of actually creating an article worthy of publishing. This doesn't have to be worrisome if you follow some basic pointers. First, write about what you know. Every project manager has particular experiences gained during the phases of their work. Ask yourself questions:
- What worked really well?
- What didn't work but which was successfully mitigated?
- What should the next person know about this type of project?
There should be quite a number of great topics that you can choose from. Apply relative rankings to them. Recent topics are easier to write about as they are fresh in your mind. These might rank higher in your list. Rank topics higher if you had significant involvement. It's easiest to write about what you know. Those lessons learned during your project might rank higher if you know that others would avoid costs if they kept them in mind on their new projects. Once you have assigned a number of ranking criteria to your possible topics, sort them to see if you have a clear winner that you should write about. Feel free to contact the editor of the journal if you want an independent opinion on the merits of your topic.
If you have written blog posts these might be useful as a good starting point for your article. Similarly, a project review document that you wrote may have great information that can be used in an article. You may be able to combine various materials that you have written to speed your work on the article.
Structure that helps to guide you through the writing process
When you have chosen your topic and are ready to begin writing, there are a number of writing methods you can use to get started. An easy one for project management topics has the following structure:
You can expand the structure as needed:
Title - What teaser line would get the reader's attention
Overview - What is the main point? Is there a supplemental point?
Preamble - Why should anyone care? Why do you care? Is there a solution?
Body - This is why you care. Why others should care. The impact, cost, schedule and other details are here. Give a solution or a message. Maybe there is a funny angle that you can include. If not, everyone likes children or animal stories.
Conclusion - Time to reiterate the overview. The main point was covered. The supplemental point was covered. The solution was valid. Invite the reader to explore the topic further, if appropriate. Describe how the lessons learned have continued to help your team, if applicable. Finish with a strong point - "This isn't work, it's fun."
By following this basic article structure, you will be able to write a good article that pertains to a project management topic. With a little edit help, it should be ready for publication in a relevant journal. Don't forget that most journals offer an author byline section that gives readers a chance to learn more about you. Use this to highlight your business, explain your philosophy or just to identify you as the author. You can earn a lot of PDU credits with a journal article and you can now find more publishing opportunities than ever before. This isn't work, it's fun.
Vaughn Smith, PCMP, PMP
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