Green Project Management

GreenPMIn their book Green Project Management authors Richard Maltzman and David Shirley tell us that project managers are inherently green because they constantly strive to decrease costs, increase business value and protect scarce resources. This all contributes to being green. Companies are increasingly more aware of the need to become green and therefore it makes sense that project management becomes green as well.

The authors introduce a new term that denotes the level at which a project is green. The term is greenality and was chosen because it sounds similar to quality. They argue that greenality can be managed the same way as quality, for example, we could introduce a greenality management plan. We could measure greenality both in the project sense and in the end product sense. They even suggested that greenality might be added to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) as a new knowledge area.

They further explain the analogy between greenality and quality by introducing the cost of greenality, similar to the cost of quality. Of course, project greenality is associated with costs, for example there may be costs related to the training of all stakeholders about the need for becoming green and about the goals of working in a sustainable manner, the cost of additional labor due to introducing greenality as well as taxes on CO2 emission and potential costs related to not being compliant, for example fines.

Although the title of the book suggests that we will read about green project management, the majority of the book focuses on discussing green products and projects whose purpose is to deliver greener results. It is interesting to read, however, from a book of this size I would expect to get more specific content about the project management aspect of being green. There is not much on this topic and it can be briefly summarized as:

  • educate all stakeholders about the goals and commitment to being green;
  • reduce the amount of paper used and replace it with electronic formats;
  • implement a greener IT center, for example by using virtualization where project management tools are installed;
  • reduce the amount of travel required of the team members and instead use modern electronic communication and collaboration tools;
  • choose green suppliers where possible and where the project manager is empowered to choose.

The ideas about reducing the amount of paper used and reducing the amount of travel are repeated so many times throughout the book that it seems as if this is the book’s core message.


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