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An introduction to the International Organization for Standardization¶s ISO 14000 family of standards that have been developed for organizations to operate in way that sustains the environment, that explores how ³greenthink´ can be applied to project management in support of aligning with these standards.
The world is going green and it appears that the United States is starting to get the message as well. We are collectively realizing that we do not have an unlimited amount of air or water or space to continue to utilize resources as we have done in the past. The pending concern over global warming merely serves as the central rallying point for an environmentally friendly movement that has been underway since at least the 1970s. Some ways that we demonstrate our support of the environment are through neighborhood recycling programs, the type of automobiles we purchase, or our attention to carpooling. However, our profession seems to be in its infancy in applying green standards. At first glance, it appears that any project team could take steps to recycle and reduce the use of resources. This may include reducing the amount of documentation that is printed, and where companies have invested in enterprise project management systems, leveraging these systems and any workflow capabilities to receive approvals (eg, on Project Charters, scope change requests, etc). Project team members may be required to shut off computers and printers nightly if this reduces electrical use. We believe that this is the beginning of getting project teams, sponsors, key stakeholders, and others to think green about each project. ³GreenPM´ (green project management), coined by Tom Mochal and Andrea Krasnoff, is a concept in its infancy with a goal of incorporating an organization¶s environmental aspects into project management processes. It is a model where we think green throughout our project and make decisions that take into account the impact on the environment, if any. It is a way to ingrain ³greenthink´ into every project management process. The point about green project management is not that we make every decision in favor of the one that is most environmentally friendly. The point is that we start to take the environment into account instead of ignoring it. You might make most decisions the same as you do today. But there might be some decisions you would make differently. We organized this white paper to introduce the International Organization for Standardization¶s ISO 14000 family of standards. These were developed for organizations to operate in way that sustains the environment. We then investigate how ³greenthink´ can be applied to project management in support of aligning with these standards.
³GreenPM´: Supporting ISO 14000 Standards Through Project Management Processes Since the 1990s we have seen an increasing focus on sustaining the environment. The International Organization for Standardization, established ISO 14000 standards for the environmental field in 1996. Most recently revised in 2004, these standards are voluntary and global. There are an increasing number of companies becoming ISO14001 compliant. It is also common for these companies to request the same from their supply chain partners. Like the more mature ISO 9000 standards for quality management, the environmental model follows a continuous improvement process. Both follow Deming¶s Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) model. As opposed to a defined environmental performance level, the ISO 14001:2004 environmental standard provides a framework for organizations to act in a manner that enables each to comply with its environmentally defined standards. ISO14001:2004 defines a set of elements that comprise an Environmental Management System (EMS), to help an organization improve its overall environmental performance.
There are a couple of possible outcomes. identifies nine areas of project management which are commonly covered in a project management methodology. if you are upgrading your network infrastructure. There is an impact on the environment. if you are manufacturing a new widget. Environmentally friendly and sustainable thinking can be applied to all projects. the process is the same as today. but the scope change is approved as is because of the business value. Plan the time for these activities into your project schedule. However. sponsor. For example. although we cannot expect all projects¶ outcomes to have the same level of environmental performance or gain. It is likely that few project sponsors give it a thought either. Project Charters infrequently (or never) contain a section on environmental concerns. so they can at least consider environmental impact when they are making decisions.. maybe the better choice is to seek out a recycling company. the sponsor might make different decisions on scope change requests if they only knew the impact of the change on the environment. from definition to creation to change control. let¶s bring this information to the people who need to make project decisions. You may also add new work packages to your WBS for demonstrating performance-related gains that align with your company¶s environmental policy. commonly referred to as the PMBOK®. It is possible that new questions could be asked or new decisions could be made if everyone involved in a project (project manager. However. This is the process where all changes are evaluated and their affects on other project management processes are considered. In this case. etc) participated in ³greenthink´. team members. For instance. This will be the outcome of the vast majority of instances. A Closer Look: Applying ³Greenthink´ to Project Management Processes ³A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge Third Edition´ from the Project Management Institute (PMI). Ten years ago. and the sponsor makes a different decision because of it. All we are proposing is that the impact to the environment be considered along with value and project impact. . Perhaps the scope change request is not approved. Perhaps the scope change request is modified to lessen the environmental impact. Again same process as today. There is an impact on the environment. if you identify the recycling need up-front you can build the cost into your estimate. Let¶s now add a third factor ± impact on the environment. Integration Management The most likely part of Integration Management that can incorporate ³greenthink´ is Integrated Change Control. you might take the old equipment and bury it in the middle of a big dumpster. The environment should be an aspect that is evaluated with each change and factored into each decision making process. Adopting a green project management methodology may now include activities in support of your company¶s environmental policy or EMS. You see that in some percentage of cases. Therefore.The EMS describes an approach for how a company will conduct itself in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner. Time Management Time management describes the processes related to the project schedule. You know what ± it might even cost you a few bucks. but the environment was considered. it is likely that some of your equipment will be obsolete. Scope Management Today your scope change process takes into account the business value of the change and the impact to the project. Here we provide examples of how ³greenthink´ is applicable to each of these areas. Therefore. you may want to demonstrate that you are decreasing the amount of scrap that has been historically measured in the manufacturing plant. most project managers never give it a thought as they are defining the project. key stakeholders. People in our profession can learn from their company¶s approach to environmental awareness and consider how environmental management applies to project management. y y y There are no real environmental impacts. But perhaps there are ways that your project can be greener if you would only think about it.
However. Project quality assurance and project quality control may also include activities in support of the environment. This is a small thing but could have a large impact when multiplied over hundreds or thousands of projects. educate project team members on the processes that consider the environment. If you are practicing GreenPM. It is also an opportunity to educate them on your company¶s EMS. Since project team members are often involved in analyzing situations and alternatives and providing recommendations.Quality Management There are two levels of quality management programs ± each of which can accommodate GreenPM concepts. One is focused at an organization level and one is focused on a project level. The second aspect of quality is the specific quality criteria that make sense for your specific project. their introduction to ³greenthink´ could help them recognize environmental impacts in their work. if you are practicing GreenPM you should first look to see if your organization has an Environmental Management Policy (or something similar). then you should make sure that your project aligns to these environmental policies and standards as well. Human Resource Management If practicing GreenPM. Similarly. you can take these into account as project quality requirements. you are going to need to adopt Six Sigma principles on our project. [Six Tactics for Selling Your Sustainability Strategy to Stakeholders] and [See The Business Case for Environmental and Sustainability Employee Education] You should include project-related environmental actions in status reports. One idea could be to ensure that you use recycled paper to create your project paper-based deliverables. . These can be addressed through your project as you address all other requirements that you have gathered. Your communication plan should include activities to increase these stakeholders¶ awareness of your project. Perhaps it makes sense for your checklist to include questions that tie in environmental aspects to the deliverable you are building. Communications Management When planning project communications. When you understand the environmental expectations of your customer. The project Quality Management Plan focuses on the stakeholders¶ expectations (requirements) of quality and the resulting activities needed to meet these expectations. How often do organizations currently identify any environment-related stakeholder groups (internal or external) as a part of a communication plan? Many organizations now compliant with the ISO 14000 family of standards may have individuals responsible for and/or participating in their Environmental Management System processes. This is normally done at an organization level. Individual project teams don¶t implement large scale quality programs such as Six Sigma on their own. You may incorporate a quality control checklist to validate deliverable quality. These individuals may represent a new stakeholder group who would be interested in your project¶s alignment with the environmental policy. you might be surprised to learn that there may be green areas of interest to your stakeholders. For example. If so. Quality initiatives at an organizational level include Six Sigma or the Capability Maturity Model Integrated (CMMI). you should seek to expand this discussion of quality to discuss the environmental considerations of the project. This does not mean that every project will have environmental considerations. if you start to ask the questions and start to raise awareness. you look at the stakeholders involved in your project and determine the type and frequency of communications needed for the various stakeholder groups. It makes sense that if you have a Six Sigma initiative in your organization. a quality audit may confirm that the processes performed are in support of the company¶s environmental policy.
it would have raised the awareness of the project team and associated stakeholders with regards to improved means to prevent. Prior to GreenPM. because decisions like the purchase of Ocean Therapy boats would be indicated at a Charter level. cost. or a change in the materials used to create the drill or the oil platform. Project Management Plan ± An Environmental Management Plan component Existing BP environmental policies ± which we¶re sure that BP has in great number. Lastly. but we predict it will become much more prevalent. overtime is often a reality based on project constraints (eg. you may recognize that additional resources (electrical power) were used for you prototype that otherwise would have been avoided. [See Greening Your Company¶s Procurement] and [Buy it Ethically: Embedding CSR in The Procurement Function] Project Charter Have you ever seen a Project Charter template that has a section on environmental concerns? It¶s rare now. to assure the necessary buy-in prior to undertaking the project. you may have considered the risk to be associated with a schedule and/or budget impact. By considering the environment.) as evaluated through integrated change control. A charter written with an environmental view also may have allowed BP to focus more effectively on the clean up process. If your company¶s environmental policy is looking to reduce its use of such a resource. While this has never been a recommended best practice in project management. Another example may be a schedule risk if you cannot rely on overtime as an alternative for getting a project back on schedule. etc. Now. and budget). risk. your Sponsor may determine that the project team should not work overtime. your project team may now analyze each risk¶s impact on the environment. you may identify some risks that are defined with a different impact level and therefore a different risk rating and risk response strategy that may not have been considered previously. then the prototype results may now include an environmental impact in addition to a schedule and/or budget impact. scope. schedule. identifying the environmental policies applicable to the project and the sustainability requirements for the project. For example. Perhaps a change in materials requirements would result in procuring materials from a different vendor. procurement. If the new technology does not prove to be a solution. When applying ³greenthink´. Perhaps if the Charter for the Deepwater Horizon project included a detailed section on environmental impact. Procurement Management Educate vendors on your company¶s EMS and use of GreenPM. similar projects. quality. We discuss this further in the section on procurement management. in addition to the impact on all other project management processes (schedule. the environmental impact could have been considered. Vendors should follow your GreenPM methodology and focus on the environment in their work for your projects. you may then resort to an existing technology. part of project scope management. Project Scope Management and Project Integration Management If the oil rig required additional drills. With GreenPM. and how it relates to their organization¶s environmental policy. BP may also have identified a need to further evaluate its vendors/partners experience in prior. then scope change management process should have been invoked. Note that the latter could have been a requirements change. If your company¶s environmental policy includes an objective to maintain or reduce its use of natural resources. it may have resulted in a need to further invest in considering alternate approaches with various stakeholder groups. then overtime could impact this project objective by requiring additional electrical power and water usage. mitigate (with activities such as relief wells). your project may be prototyping a new technology. When invoking scope change management.Risk Management Risk Management includes identifying risks and determining their probability and impact on a project. considering their size and experience ± need to have been used as an input to the project\¶s Environmental Management Plan. and respond effectively to spills. .
The financial costs of the realized threat are so high in this case ± in the tens of billions of dollars and in fact the continued life of the company itself ± that a different type of thinking has to be applied. the MMS and their oversight (or lack thereof) of oil companies. Ostensibly. Perhaps it is too optimistic to think that the oil companies would have identified oil cleanup technology as a part of risk-response. So there was a precedent for this type of failure. In that case. industries/associations (e. one could look at the Kevin Costner-funded Ocean Therapy centrifuge boats as an example. this entire incident comes down to the way BP and others managed project risk. For a relatively small investment. both internal and external. however. In fact. then perhaps they should have estimated the contingent costs required for a clean-up activity as they are currently undertaking. Communication Management ± Identify Stakeholders How thorough was the stakeholder plan and ultimately the Communication Plan prepared by BP for this project? This project appears to have many key stakeholder groups.g. BP would be buying not only an easy way to clean up after a possible spill. the MMS should have been putting proper requirements on the companies doing the drilling. but it certainly is within the realm of reason that cleanup technology and costs would be included in risk contingency plans (the plans that are put into effect if the original risk plan fails). faith in the blowout preventer.. It could not be considered a . Much has been said about the regulating agency. Even with Green Project Management.\´? We assert that with properly indentified stakeholders and a thoughtful stakeholder management plan. a recent news story shows that ± although late ± the oil industry has pooled their resources and is collaborating on oil spill response. In fact. etc ± identified and considered? Were they all included in the communications as BP developed and implemented the oil rig? What type of communications plan would allow BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg to say ³we care about the small people. the blowout preventer also failed. BP could have reviewed its defined project Environmental Plan (linked to the company¶s parent Environment Management Plan) and confirmed that the requirements for the oil rig would adhere to the plan. As is obvious now. would have resulted in a more thorough collection and communication of these environmental requirements before beginning to drill. fishing along the Gulf Coast). Cost Management When estimating project costs. Making it clear to the project team that this linkage exists is a way to reinforce what should be elemental to the team¶s behavior but sometimes can slip behind other priorities if not kept in the forefront. With ³greenthink´. As is the case with good project management practices. The context is greater than risk management. Risk Management ± Probability and Impact Assessment Really. a very similar accident occurred in 1979 the Ixtoc. BP could have invested more upfront to further mitigate or avoid the risk of spilling oil into the ocean. the vendor themselves has to ask the question: µwho are the stakeholders. did BP consider costs for implementing any risk response strategies? As mentioned in the Charter section. Identifying the costs related to the project\¶s environmental aspects allows the project manager to discuss the costs with the Sponsor and determine whether the cost is more than offset by the project results. risks may be evaluated differently. etc) but a very high impact when considering the environmental impact. Was every major stakeholder group ± internal BP. See the risk management section. and what are their requirements?¶ Perhaps with this mindset and a well-conceived (excuse the pun) and ethically-responsible environmental management policy ± not just at a corporate level. competitors\¶ experience. If we consider environmental factors that had never been applied. then BP may have identified the risk of the blowout as an extremely low probability of occurrence (based on prior experience.Requirements Management When gathering requirements for the oil rig. NGOs. but at a project level ± an increased focus on both preventing the spill from happening and being able to effectively clean up after. if BP\¶s decision was not to invest more in a risk response strategy. as you can tell by the number of other headers in this document. but would gain valuable positive PR by aligning with the high-profile actor and his efforts to protect the Gulf. this likely would not have happened. government. But it really comes down to project risk management.
project management offices. He has spoken extensively around the US and around the world. Inc. The Coca-Cola Company. quantified. Procurement Management When planning and executing procurement activities for this project. However.Mochal as been awarded the 2005 Distinguished Contribution Award from the Project Management Institute (PMI) and is the author of Lessons in People Management. Ultimately it is up to the sponsor and client organization to make the final decisions.. in 1969. Capgemini.³failsafe´ solution. and addressed with the Sponsor and key stakeholders. proactive approach for managing environment-related aspects to our projects. Lessons in Project Management and all TenStep. Green thinking is part of the ISO 14000 standard. the product was low enough that the risk mitigation and response was inadequate. The point is to adopt GreenPM into our existing project management methodologies. we may begin to understand how many decisions might be made differently if the environmental impact (if any) is taken into account. These different decisions. you would have to have a huge impact for the product of probability and impact to give a risk score worth pursuing. As we noted above. Was their assessment of the impact high enough? With such a low probability. development lifecycle. The point is not to invent (many) new project management processes. we will further understand how to best apply and adapt current project management processes into a structured. and contribute to our organization¶s environment policies and goals. the question is how best to apply it on your projects in support of your company¶s environmental direction. We are barely scratching the surface on GreenPM techniques and processes. and Eastman Kodak. Inc. we are discussing this event because it truly depicts the importance of considering the environment and making sure that all project-related risks are properly identified. can make a difference. training and consulting. Work experience at Geac Computers. Over time. Without considering the environment aspect in project management process of risk management. multiplied by tens of thousands each day across the world. products. . a company focused on methodology development. We assert that the probability was considered to be zero and that the impact was tremendously undervalued. It does not mean that all resulting project decisions will change from what may have been prior to incorporating ³greenthink´. portfolio management. The assessment could have also included the environmental impact of a blowout that occurred in Santa Barbara. did BP: y y y y y Validate that their vendors/partners (such as Halliburton) met their environmental requirements? Understand how their vendors/partners would align to BP\¶s environmental policies and project approach? Request feedback from vendors/partners on how they would align with environmental policies? Audit that the vendors/partners were actually following the environmental policies? Audit that the deliverables met the defined environmental criteria? Summary Applying GreenPM enables everyone to be more cognizant and better stewards of potential environmental impacts in their decision making processes. Green Project Management may not result in a different decision. As green becomes more routine within the world of project management. He is an expert instructor and consultant on project management. people management and other related areas. application support. Since companies are now applying this thinking through their environmental policies and EMS. Tom Mochal is President of TenStep. California.
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