Story Writing Primer

Day In The Life of a Project Manager – Story Writing Primer

To help you write your story about a day in your life as a project manager, this outline may help organize your thoughts. Our goal is to capture some of the “adventures” and unique experiences project managers work through during a project life cycle. The stories should be interesting, based on an actual experience, and can be humorous or serious. The intent of the book is to provide the reader, whether they are project managers or just curious individuals, with information that will help to show the true nature of the project manager’s role. Stories can be based on examples of strong leadership, building teams, overcoming major obstacles, dealing with difficult clients, managing unreasonable executives, creating an amazing product or any topic that you think would be of interest to your colleagues and people interested in project management.

Story Title – Make the title itself interesting. Examples:

Showdown in the conference room
The impossible client
When good projects go bad
When bad projects get worse
Why did I accept this job?
You can’t make this stuff up
You’re kidding, right?
A team to remember
You won’t find this in any project management book
What you need to know about projects that no one wants to tell you
Getting burnt and lessons learnt
I was just assigned my first project
You want what? When?
Mutiny on the project
Do you really need that change?

Here are some thoughts to help develop your story:
1. make sure you obtain the necessary permissions if you plan to mention a company or individual by name.
2. Be respectful. These chapters are not about vengeance or venting or to attack a person or organization. Share an experience and what you learned from it.
3. Think of humorous situations that you found yourself in. What happened? Why was it humorous? What did you learn?
4. If your experience was serious, explain what led up to the situation. What occurred?. What was the impact? How did you resolve it?
5. Build the story by providing some background. Describe the characters involved. What incidents occurred that caused the event? Describe any environmental factors such as location, culture etc.
6. Visualize the entire story. How did it start? What details are important? Who was affected? How were they affected? What did they do in response? How was information distributed? Make notes as you visualize your story. Ask other people who may have been involved to share their memories. Think about what message you would like to communicate to the reader. Is there a a specific lesson learned?
7. At the end of the chapter you may want to provide some summary information or key points to the story.
8. This should be an enjoyable experience. You are sharing information with other project managers. Tell your story with some passion. Try to get a “wow” reaction from the reader.
9. Go to a search engine and research how to write a story. There is lots of information available.
10. Don’t hold back. Write what you are thinking. You can refine it later.

Click here to download a PDF version of this “Day In The Life Chapter Primer”