Sustainability in Project Management: Practical Applications

Sustainability in Project Management: Practical Applications

Jennifer Tharp (Mastodon Consulting, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4177-8.ch011
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Abstract

As organizations evolve to embrace sustainability objectives, the operations of a company need to evolve to support those new objectives. Since project management is how strategy is executed within an organization, project management’s evolution is key to this new reality. In this chapter, the author examines aspects of a sustainability program, common goals between project management and sustainability, and pragmatic implementation guidelines, which help the project manager integrate sustainability into his practices. Special emphasis is placed on each process area of project management, from inception through execution and control. The objectives of this chapter are: (1) translate the fundamental aspects of sustainability to the corporate environment and broader community; (2) understand the risk of ignoring sustainability aspects in projects, as expectations change, both in terms of direct financial loss and longer-term impact; and (3) explore how to integrate sustainability practices into project management knowledge areas.
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The Tie With Project Management

When we think about introducing sustainability into an organization, we tend to think of purely operational concerns – the amount of paper used by the copier, turning the lights off at night. But projects are how the company evolves, changes, and reaches strategic objectives. It’s these actions that are most critical to the company’s work, and where sustainability needs to get a toehold.

Projects are temporary in nature, so it’s not intuitive that there would be a connection with the long-term orientation of sustainability. However, all projects take place within a strategic context, and there are both internal and external environmental factors that surround or influence a project’s success. Understanding the framework in which the project takes place helps ensure that work is carried out in alignment with the goals of the enterprise and managed in accordance with the established practice methodologies of the organization. (PMI, 2008, p 45)

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