Can I Earn PDUs for Writing Project Management Articles?

Yes you can! Ever since the Project Management Institute (PMI) published the new Category and Structure for Professional Development Units (PDUs) in March 2011, earning PDUs has become much easier. This ease is especially visible in Category D “Creating New Project Management Knowledge”: Every hour that you spend creating and / or presenting new project management knowledge counts as 1 PDU.

This means that if you decide to write a project management related article and you invest 3 hours in writing it then you have just earned 3 PDUs. (Please note that there is a maximum of 45 PDUs that you can earn in Categories D, E and F, therefore these 3 hours would count toward that maximum).

Are you thinking that this way of earning PDUs isn’t for you because you have nothing to write about? Think again! Let me give you three simple ideas:

  1. Write a white paper about your last project. Describe what and how you managed it, focusing on project management best practices.
  2. There isn’t one project meeting that I have attended where I don’t learn something new about being a PM. Think back to your last 3 meetings and describe what you have learned.
  3. Discuss a particularly difficult area on your project with one of your colleagues at work and then write an article about what the problem is and how you decided to do to solve it. And of course in one month down the road you can write another article describing how well / badly your actions worked.

But beware… there are some topics that won’t count toward earning you Professional Development Units. For example an article that talks about the latest and greatest features of a project management software won’t earn you any PDUs. Similarly, articles on how to prepare for the PMP exam or articles on earning PDUs like the one you are reading right now don’t count either. These three topics don’t count, because any article written about them isn’t creating new knowledge – it is just describes a “product”. So be safe and write about what you learned in your daily work as a PM managing your projects.

Once you have your first article completed you need to publish it. But where?

From my past discussions with PMI I have learned that they do not have a list of specific publication channels where you must publish. The important point to keep in mind is that the article must discuss project management topics and that it is published where other project managers are likely to find it.

Here are some ideas for where you could publish your PM articles:

  • Send your article to your local PMI chapter for inclusion in their newsletter. PMI chapter newsletters usually welcome contributions from guest authors.
  • Start your own blog at any of the free online blogging platforms. Having your own blog gives you credibility as a PM and it will also encourage you to write more and earn more PDUs.
  • If you are not ready to start your own blog, then simply contact another blogger and ask her/him if they might be interested in publishing your article on their website as a guest blogger.
  • Publish it on a Project Management Community website like Gantthead or The International Community for PMs (EDITOR’S NOTE: Or, for true prestige, here at How to Manage a Camel!)
  • Send the article to the publishers of one of the many online PM newsletters for inclusion in the upcoming issue.
  • Create an account at an article directory website like Ezine articles and publish the article here.

Also remember to always keep records of your articles, so that you can show to PMI during an audit that you truly deserve to have earned these PDUs. As a best practice you should keep a copy of your original article, print out a screen shot of the website where your article was published and keep a copy of the magazine where your article was printed.

In my view, every project manager has something to say and share with others in our worldwide community. So pick up that pen… I mean keyboard… and start writing.


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