Posts Tagged 'Project Sustainability'

How do You Measure Your Success as a Project Leader?

What does success mean for your projects?

Prudent project leaders measure success through a number of different variables that go beyond the usual measure of project success, i.e., the triple constraint triangle – on target, on time, and on budget.

The Triple Constraint Triangle Is Not the Final Measure of Success

  • Stakeholders: How well are stakeholder expectations managed?

According to the PMBOK Guide, 4th edition, 2008:  Managing Stakeholder Expectations is the process of communicating and working with stakeholders to meet their needs and addressing issues as they occur, resolving conflict situations, and achieving the project goals. An effective stakeholder management process can ensure that timely and relevant feedback is provided and that changes are made according to the stakeholder management strategy.

  1. Managing stakeholder perception: Stakeholder perception increases the likelihood that stakeholders will provide the necessary support and the project can be implemented as expected.
  2. Recording stakeholder activity: The project leader tracks all communications with stakeholders.
  3. Solving problems and resolving conflicts: The project leader addresses stakeholder concerns and assesses risks to prevent issues and conflicts.

The project leader is responsible for stakeholder expectations management. Stakeholder satisfaction does not have to be a vague measure.  You can rate each stakeholder group’s satisfaction on a scale from one to 10 . . . with 10 being best.

  • Sustainability: How well is sustainability managed?

According to Making Sense of Sustainability Project Management, 1st edition, 2011: Sustainability project management is the systematic process of planning sustainability into a project as well as identifying, analyzing, and responding to project Sustainability Risk Items. A published sustainability management process helps ensure that sustainability management is included in the planning processes of projects. Sustainability due diligence suggests that projects be managed from start to finish with reference to a Sustainability Management Plan and a Sustainability Information Management System. You can apply sustainability tools and metrics to a project’s cost/benefit assessment and derive a Sustainability Index.

  • Earned Value Analysis (EVA): EVA  is “Project management with the lights on!”

Earned value analysis is a point in time evaluation that measures project health by asking three key questions. Once you have answered three questions, the earned value indices (CPI and SPI) can be easily calculated:

  1. How much work did your plan to complete? (Planned Value: PV)
  2. How much work did you actually complete? (Earned Value: EV)
  3. How much did it cost to complete the work? (Actual Cost: AC)


You can establish your own ranges as appropriate (e.g., CPI and SPI between .95 and 1.05 could be a green, and CPI and SPI less than .85 could be red) and continue to use a consistent objective definition to summarize project status.

EVA requires project leaders to track project actual start and finish dates while comparing actual costs to the project baseline. By adopting EVA on your projects, you will reinforce good project management/leadership principles.

You may deliver the product, service, or result – on target, on time, and on budget—and still not be “successful.” Being a successful project leader is about managing stakeholder expectations, promoting sustainability, and using EVA to “manage with the lights on.”

How do you measure project success? Comments?

James L. Haner

Sustainability Initiatives in Project Management

You want to incorporate something on “sustainability” into your organization and you’re not sure where to start. Although sustainability is becoming a hot topic and commonly used phrase in business circles, most people still aren’t completely sure how it translates into day-to-day business.

I would like to propose a list of potential “sustainability initiatives” being developed around the world by organizations from government bodies to not-for-profits to Walmart.

First of all, we must agree that any organization exists to provide some type of service, product or result to the greater community, market or the world at large. Sustainability management is concerned with HOW the organization fulfills this objective.

There are a couple more ideas that we must agree on in order to move forward. The first thing is the idea that planning is good. The type of planning I’m talking about is business planning, project planning, initiative development, and management thereof. If you truly believe that it’s possible to make a difference in your organization with some level of pro-active planning and proper oversight, then the incorporation of “sustainability planning” will be possible.

Philosophically, you must also agree that it’s possible to make things better. When you look around the world today, you may feel overwhelmed by the obstacles we’re facing. It is imperative that you still believe it’s possible to make a difference in your organization and the world at large.

Assuming that planning is good and that we can make a difference in the world, let’s look at the management of “sustainability” by reviewing areas you may be able to make a change:

  1. Efficiency: Waste management and proper stewardship of all resources

1.1 Cut costs and increase profit margins by driving greater efficiencies in processes, business administration, financial systems, procurement, buildings and facility management, construction, information technology, manufacturing, supply chain, general logistics and travel, and more

These plans and proposed ideas on efficiency should be reflected in some of the typical efforts within the organization:

1.1.1     Continuous improvement initiative

1.1.2     Quality improvement initiatives

1.1.3     Business process re-engineering

1.1.4     Business process improvement

1.1.5     Disaster recovery plans

1.1.6     Business continuity plans

1.1.7     Risk management plans

1.1.8     Waste management of all resources and assets touched directly and indirectly within the value chain of an organization

1.1.9     Recycle programs

1.1.10 Life cycle management of any product created by or used by the organization

1.1.11 Carbon footprint management

1.1.12 Configuration management plans

1.1.13 Enterprise architecture plans

1.1.14 Governance plans

1.1.15 Business case development     Business analysis     Requirements development

2. Product Management: Proper product management requires expanding the scope of responsibility to include entire life-cycle management and chemical composition oversight, including any and all inputs, use, outputs and waste therein

2.1   The area of product management is changing exponentially around the world. There are new laws being created every day around the management of chemicals and chemical bi-products, from the initial sourcing of elements in mining or laboratory production, through the life-cycle of manufacturing and use, to the ultimate end-of-life conclusion through recycle or waste

2.2   This requires a new philosophy to managing products along with new processes, checks and balances, quality plans, waste management plans, governance, and policies and procedures commensurate with the context the organization is operating within

2.3   Organizations can ultimately increase revenues by designing and marketing environmentally superior goods and services that meet customer’s desires for energy efficiency, reduced pollution, and good health.

Larry T Barnard

Sustainable Product Development: Life Cycle Analysis

Sustainability is beginning to impact product development. Since products can be made from various materials it is important to consider how those materials influence sustainability. Peering into projects that are aimed to improve sustainability, the development process for a product is a prime focus. A growing concern, and required metric on many projects is the life cycle of products and how their sustainability impacts the organization and the consumers or end users. Many organizations provide assistance in life cycle mapping and planning. One such organization is Haworth, Inc.

Haworth uses Life Cycle Analysis to assist them with product development and its impact on the environment.  This analysis consists of two key steps including an inventory analysis and impact analysis. The focus of each is to determine the impacts of product development on the environment and the inputs and outputs of the products life cycle. This organization uses life cycle analysis to determine the variation of impact on different product designs and compares them side-by-side. Ideally, this helps the organization to pin point what materials can be recycled and what materials can be used with minimal impact on the environment and any resulting waste therein. These two aspects are an important step within sustainable product development for organizations. This analysis can be customized to accommodate an organization’s strategic product design.

It is critical that organizations to learn how they are impacting the environment with their products. Life cycle assessments will help encourage a more conscious effort to minimize impact and better manage potential negative impacts. It is time to minimize sustainability risk by considering these factors during product development. Incorporating these steps into your processes can help ensure proper corporate social responsibility (CSR), and proactively eliminate environmental impact.

For more information on sustainability in projects, visit

Larry T. Barnard, PMP, PMI-RMP, IISPM-Practitioner

Bonnema, M. (2006, February). Sustainable Product Design: Just the Facts. Retrieved January 2012, from

Doyle, K. (2008). Job Market Sees Growing Demand for Sustainability Managers. Retrieved from

Sustainability Provides a Competitive Edge in Today’s Job Market

I often wonder how sustainability project management is impacting the job market, as it has become a need for many organizations. The incorporation of sustainability project management can give employers an opportunity to turn a new leaf and apply their projects in a more conscious manner towards the environment. There’s a great article by Kevin Doyle called, “Job Market Sees Growing Demand for Sustainability Managers.” This article describes how the public and private sector of employers are gaining a perspective on how important sustainability is in their organization. As the demand for sustainability continues to grow and organizations prepare themselves for considering an action such as lowering emissions from their buildings or facilities, organization’s need to find subject matter experts (SME’s) to help planning and executing projects.

Considering this demand throughout organizations, it is important for potential employees to locate the tools to train them on sustainability project management. Ideally, utilizing educational material and studying for a certification would be the more obtainable option for most job seekers, however having a background in project management or other areas pertaining to environmental management could also benefit job seekers.

I found this article interesting as it pointed directly to different areas of expertise on sustainability management. It highlights three different areas that are most common in the workplace including “the champion and coordinator” who takes a more leadership focused role, or the “the sustainability facilities manager” who focus more on life-cycle and energy systems expertise highlighting the more technical skills, or “sustainability=environmental planning and design” who advocates the idea of “smart growth” and energy efficiency. (Doyle, 2008)

Please take a look at this article as it demonstrates the strongest avenues for job seekers in the sustainability project management field.

Larry T. Barnard, PMP, PMI-RMP, IISPM-Practitioner

The Insider’s Guide to Sustainability in Monitoring and Controlling your Project – Part 4 of 4

In Part 3 of 4, I talked about sustainability in Project Time Management and Project Cost Management. Now, in Part 4 of 4, we conclude with sustainability in Project Quality Management, Project Human Resource Management, Project Communications Management, Project Risk Management, and Project Procurement Management.

“The processes used in project management are critical to project success; sustainability considerations need to be embedded in the project management cycle.”                                                                                              

Project Quality Management (PQM) (CH 8)

FLASH: Sustainable quality management is based on Deming’s 14 points.


According to the PMBOK® Guide 4th edition, Project Quality Management “involves determining quality policies, objectives, and responsibilities so that the project will satisfy the need for which it was undertaken.” PQM is accountable for making sure that any work performed is done correctly  . . . the first time thus avoiding rework.

The Quality Planning process defines the inputs and controls for quality assurance activities. The Sustainability Project Management Plan sets the level of influence that the Quality Planning will have on defining “quality.”

Quality standards will be used in the development of a baseline and as the basis for monitoring and controlling in the QA and QC processes. The SPMP and PMIS systems will establish thresholds for quality measurements and help in managing corrective and preventive changes for the change management process.

Project Human Resource Management (PHRM) (CH 9)

FLASH: Pay attention to sustainability in people. Start an awareness campaign about the new Triple Bottom Line . . . how projects affect: People, the Planet and Profits. 


It’s time for Sustainability Project Managers (SPMs) to start a change reaction!

According to the PMBOK® Guide 4th edition, HRM involves “organizing and managing the project team.” HRM focuses on allocating organizational resources and managing them effectively, i.e., training, compensation to verify that appropriate people are placed appropriately and have the tools they need to succeed.

The sustainability roles and responsibilities for each project team member are identified here. The sustainability requirements are completed in the Plan Human Resource, Acquire Project Team, and the Develop Human Resource processes.

The primary role, from a sustainability viewpoint, is to provide input and guidance for training areas and the need to get the right people to monitor and control the sustainability concerns listed in the SPMP.

Project Communications Management (PCoM) (Ch 10)

FLASH: Sustainability issues can be sensitive. It is important for the SPM to take extra time to communicate the spirit of sustainability.

If the SPM wants to “walk the talk,” she will have to use no paper and instead use electronic communications – e-mail, a shared drive, etc.  Use electronic media for calendars, to-do lists and meeting minutes. Sustainability Earned Sustainability Value Management (SEVM) can be used in Performance Measurement.  Separate the sustainability tasks and activities and analyze them one at a time.

According to the PMBOK® Guide 4th edition, PCoM is the “timely and appropriate generation, collection, distribution, storage, retrieval, and ultimate disposition of project information.”

The Communications Plan outlines the details for communicating with project stakeholders. The SPM manages information in ways that effectively and efficiently communicate project-related information to the stakeholders of the project. The processes that control these functions are Plan Communications and Report Performance. ISO 14000 can be used to monitor and control the information flow(s). The SPM will develop metrics that support decision making among stakeholders on sustainability issues.

The Report Performance process, along with the SPMS and PMIS can be used to monitor thresholds set by the Plan Communications process and help build the case to justify sustainability changes or corrective actions to the SCCS.


Project Risk Management (PRM) (CH 11)

FLASH: Do a SWOT for sustainability on the project. Look at the project from SMARTEST goals (E = environmentally, S = sustainable, T = throughout  . . . the project life cycle)

According to the PMBOK® Guide 4th edition, Risk Management involves “planning, identifying, analyzing, responding to, and monitoring and control risks.” In the Risk Management knowledge area, an SPM will identify any and all possible risks to the project and establish an effective method to address them. It is the SPM’s responsibility to address possible risk issues and develop work-arounds.

The objective of the Plan Risk Management process is to define and document how the project will deal with risk, set tolerance levels, establish risk thresholds, decide on reporting requirements, and define roles and responsibilities.

The objective of the Risk Identification process is to identify, classify and prioritize risks that could negatively or positively affect the project. The information that is captured in the Identify Risk process is used to develop an effective risk response plan and to define action items, thresholds and metrics for the Monitor and Control Risk process. These risks will guide the SPM through identifying and resolving sustainability risk issues.

Project Procurement Management (PPM) (CH 12)


FLASH: check out suppliers for their sustainability levels. Use Just-In-time (JIT) purchasing. Use video conferences for bidder conferences.

According to the PMBOK® Guide, 4th edition Project Procurement Management includes “the processes to purchase or acquire the products, services, or results to complete the work associated with the project” (PMI, 2004, p. 269).  PPM is the knowledge area to manage external relationships and access specialized support for procurement and contract areas.  You can use ISO 14000 as the foundation of the Sustainability Management System (SMS). Sustainability in PPM includes the Plan Purchase and Acquisition and Contract Administration processes.

The Plan Purchases and Acquisitions process looks at items to be developed or acquired to accomplish the project objectives. The rules of procurement are established and documented in the procurement management plan. ISO 14000 inputs as well as the Sustainability Management System can be used to influence the development and interpretation of needs as well as influence the selection of vendors and products. The inputs to the Sustainability Management Plan can be used to create assumptions, constraints, metrics and other criteria for making decisions.

The Contract Administration process monitors performance of any contracts that correlate to the project and overall completion. The Sustainability Project Management Plan (SPMP) can be used to monitor vendor performance against environmental standards.

James L. Haner

For more on sustainability in project management, please go to

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