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Green Project Management: Saving the Planet and Saving Money

Green Project Management Software

green project management softwareGoing ‘green’ is not just a business fad. Managing projects while using up the least amount of resources possible is something that many project managers are familiar with now, not because of environmental or sustainability policies, but because that’s the way business runs today. Senior executives set ambitious targets for company growth while only being able to invest small amounts, and we achieve these targets through continuous improvement and getting the best value possible from the resources available.

While we might have ended up in this situation as a result of the difficult economic climate, the bottom line is that not being wasteful and focusing on incremental improvements is a very green way of doing business. So shouldn’t we be identifying areas where we can be even more ‘green’?

What makes a project ‘green’?

Oil and gas project management, or other project management initiatives in energy and heavy industry, are not always seen as environmentally-friendly by consumers, but you don’t have to be constructing wind farms or installing solar panels to be ‘green’.

Project managers have the opportunity to focus on the environmental impact of all projects, and even small things make a difference. For example, using project management software to capture discussions electronically instead of printing out dozens of emails and filing those. Cutting down on travel reduces the carbon footprint of a project team, and there are many software tools available for web, video and audio conferencing.

These might not sound like much, but across the lifecycle of a project, and across multiple projects in an organization, the savings add up – as do the opportunities to communicate to consumers about the company’s environmental initiatives.

The new ISO 21500 standard on project management has also incorporated some elements of sustainability thinking, such as including the environmental impact of a project in the evaluation process and considering ecological constraints when producing the initial project charter. If your company aims to adopt this standard, it would be beneficial to identify areas where you can encourage your project team to think in a green way, starting from now.

Identifying opportunities for project savings

If you consider green initiatives on projects as an opportunity to reduce spending and make the most of scarce resources, you have to start with knowing where to look. The software you already have to manage your oil and gas projects, or other industry projects, will probably hold the key. These project management software tools allow you to track budgets and see which projects are consuming the most resources. Where is the money going on each of your projects? If you can identify the overheads for managing a project, you can benchmark individual projects against each other and the results can be interesting. You might find, for example, that one project team is already doing all that they can to cut out travel, and they may have some useful lessons to share with other teams who have higher expense budgets.

Some of the potential savings will not be so easy to spot. Switching to energy efficient light bulbs in your office will create a cost saving not associated to one particular project. Moving to a cloud-hosted document storage solution or an enterprise project management tool may reduce the need for project team members to store the documents they receive via email on local servers. If the need for server storage can be reduced across the company, the carbon footprint of the business can also be reduced – although you wouldn’t pick this up by looking at project budgets. Be creative about where you look for the environmental benefits on projects, and how you implement them.

Sharing the news about ‘green’

With the various PMP project management tools available you can produce reports about green initiatives on projects. You could give projects a rating depending on how well they are adopting environmental and sustainability approaches. You could also incorporate adherence to any corporate policies on these subjects as part of the project prioritization process for new projects.

Any projects set up to specifically delivery environmental benefits, such as switching delivery vans to hybrid fuel or electric power, can also be tracked and managed through your project management tool suite, as any other initiative would be.

There are a number of ways that your software suite can support you and other project managers to be environmentally friendly, without radically changing the way you work. Consolidated reporting across multiple projects can provide a company-wide view of the savings made through a program of ‘green’ initiatives. You can use the reports to help manage communications with project stakeholders, both internal and external.

That’s important, because a new study by AP-GfK shows that people are caring more and more about environmental issues. Being able to show – even if it is just a small paragraph in an internal company report – that your projects take sustainability into account can be an advantage in an ever more competitive business climate.

Overall, considering the environmental impact of projects and project management practices makes good business sense. All types of resources are scarce – some getting even more so – and one of the most effective ways to make business sustainable is to make the best use of what we have available. That’s good for the environment, and good for company finances!

We can help you with Green Project Managemement!

The New Year is finally in full swing and one topic that will be seen and heard a lot of in the project management world is going “green”. One way MSS Inc. can help your organization go green is by reducing your project management software training footprint with our new live virtual Primavera training classes. Your organization will no longer need to print out expensive manuals, consume gas while traveling, or waste valuable company resources. Click here to learn more about our new Project Management Training classes!