27 March 2021

Stories of project disruption, learning, and reimagining

Call for Project Stories

On 27 March, lockdown began in South Africa due to the rampage of the Covid-19 pandemic. We want to hear your stories about your project and project management journeys during this year of Covid-19.


The Covid-19 lockdown had a seismic impact on project activities and how we manage projects across sectors and markets, major and small projects, and capital and service projects. Economic changes strained stakeholder collaboration and support for projects. At the same time, opportunities appeared out of uncertainty. Opportunities emerged to innovate and to create positive change. Space was created for the "Great Reset" to address critical societal issues—equity, inclusion, sustainability, climate change, service provision, and notions of wellbeing, value creation, and benefits realization and distribution. Some projects adapted; others ended. Some organizations innovated while others disappeared.

How organizations and their projects reacted to these disruptions and related opportunities were as important as the disruption itself. Were organizations and their projects able to pivot, to adapt, be agile, and be resilient? How did organizations and project teams handle project shutdowns and failure? Were projects and project workers able to unlearn, learn, and relearn from these experiences to move forward from the disruption and reimagine a new way to create value and benefits for customers, stakeholders, and organizations? How did business, government, and NGOs shape their futures through these project experiences, moving forward beyond Covid-19?


If you are interested in participating as a speaker for 30 minutes at the PM Summit 2021, made up of a 12-minute storytelling journey followed by an 18-minute discussion with the audience; submit your story no later than 11 January 2021 17:00.


Submission Requirements

1) Your project story must be authentic and personal to your experience on the project within the Covid-19 Lockdown period.


2) The points raised in your story must encourage critical audience engagement and discussion.


3) Include in ABSTRACT:

  • What is the context of the story? (industry, type of company, size, etc.)
  • Who is telling the story? (your role in the project)
  • Why is the story being told?
  • When and where is the story taking place?
  • Who are the people's roles in the story? (indicate roles and not names)
  • What are the people trying to achieve?
  • What challenges are faced?
  • What is the principal outcome?
  • What is/are the key lesson/s?

Selection Criteria

The PM Summit 2021 committee will select abstracts based on how well the abstract responds to the call for stories submission guidelines and the story's uniqueness. The committee aims to have diverse projects, sectors, industries, and lessons learned among the selected abstracts.

Selected Abstracts

The authors of the selected submissions must agree to a consultation with our PM Summit communication strategist. The consultation will include a review of the full story and practice storytelling session and feedback from the strategist on how to tell an engaging story.


As this will be a virtual event, the storyteller will need to participate in a trial run on the virtual platform before the PM Summit 2021 date of 27 March 2021. The PM Summit organizers will inform the selected storytellers of the schedule for consultation and trial runs.


About The Event

This year's PM Summit 2021 offers attendees the opportunity to learn directly from lived experiences conveyed through engaging project stories. 

Project storytelling is vital for understanding our work as project workers and enriching our learning by engaging and empathizing with the storyteller's personal experiences. Through stories, we connect with the storyteller and their experiences and can glean multiple lessons. Through storytelling, we gain an entry into the inner world of the storyteller that is engaging and would not be readily available through discussion of theoretical ideas. We will learn from mistakes, failures, discoveries, and a different lens on managing projects in a dynamic and disruptive environment. With "Once upon a time…," we enter the story from where we are! And we all remember a good story. It is the insight that we gain from storytelling that we can integrate with formal learning and training. The practical experience conveyed in stories will help us to grow professionally and improve our performance. A good storyteller can be an inspiring leader. We want to learn, be influenced, and inspired by your project stories. Your stories will take us along on your project and project management journey during this year of Covid 19, through your personal tales of disruption, learning, and reimagination.