PM Paper Competition


Submit a paper on “lessons learned” from a recently completed project. Focus on management lessons, not technical lessons. Focus on how these lessons can be applied to future projects. For each lesson, tell us something that happened or failed to happen. Did the project management team carry out, or fail to carry out, good practice?

Lessons can be categorized into the PMBOK® Guide knowledge areas if you want: Scope, Cost, Time, Risk, Procurement, Communications, Human Resources, etc. Use several sources – refereed journals (if available – for many projects they will not be), government reports, newspapers and magazines, personal interviews, websites.

Papers will be judged, and shortlist candidates will present to a panel of judges. Papers will be published, and presentations recorded and posted on the internet. Media coverage is expected. The competition is open to individuals or teams of up to 4 people.


Introduce the project and then describe the lesson learned in one statement, explain why you concluded that, then go on to the next lesson. Describe why and how this can be a “lesson learned” for use when managing future projects. Most papers will contain between 6 and 12 lessons.

Include a title page, the body of the report should be no more than 14 pages, followed by a reference list and optional appendices. Tables and figures may in the body or may be in the appendix. If you use tables and figures, they must be discussed in the body text. The body of the report should be double spaced, Times New Roman 12. We will stop reading the body of the paper at the end of the 14th page. Zero tolerance for plagiarism.

As much as possible, include factual data to support your arguments. This can be quantitative or qualitative project data, such as budget or schedule variances, number of changes, statements from key qualified stakeholders, or qualitative comparison to other similar projects.


Duration 12 to 15 minutes which will be followed by a maximum of 10 minutes of Q&A. Judges will be evaluating both the presentation and the responses to the Q&A. Audio/visual support materials are highly recommended.

Presentation must be in PowerPoint format and submitted in advance of the presentation day. Presentations will be preloaded on a laptop.

Scoring criteria include:

  • Quality and use of A/V support materials
  • Overall impact
  • Clarity of presentation (including clear introduction and crisp conclusion)
  • Factual support for lesson learned
  • Effectiveness of answering questions