PM Colors – Greening project management

When I read the title of a recent article on PM Forum called “Green Project Management” I had a flashback.  At the risk of showing my “feminine” side, I remember talking with one of my female colleagues, and although I do not recall the details, this colleague mentioned to me that she was “having her colors done”. Upon further investigation, I discovered that this was a fashion and marketing thing, which encouraged people to wear clothes and makeup that match their natural coloring using a scheme based seasons. The question, “Are you a summer?” has meaning in this context. (Guys –  it is a girl thing!)

In my own defense, I am not so out of the mainstream that I did not quickly realize that the Green Project Management article was not about fashion, but was about the environment.  In other words, with all the stuff we have on our plate as PMs, how can we think and act more green?

Green project management
Don’t we have enough to worry about just getting quality projects done on time and within budget? Are we supposed to consider environmental impact when designing and developing software projects, too? The answer is, “Yes” according to Tom Mochal and Andrea Krasnoff of TenStep Inc. in their book, Green Project Management. Here are some green-process-think ideas from around the web that you may incorporate without getting off course on your project:

  1. Use less paper. Recycle.
  2. Stagger work schedule to allow people to commute to the office outside of rush hour traffic times.
  3. Allow work from home. (Read my post on Managing Virtual Teams)
  4. Reduce travel with teleconferences.
  5. Recycle and reuse project supplies including trading with other projects.
  6. Reduce paperwork by using electronic forms and signatures.
  7. Clean out old file drawers of reports, papers and other detritus. Recycle.
  8. Consider ISO14000 standards that include an organization’s Environment Management System.
  9. Require project team members to shut off computers and printers nightly if this reduces electrical use.
  10. Save energy with server virtualization, CPU power throttling and server power capping suggests a hosted database case.
  11. Recycle computer hardware through donation or recycle centers – see EPA resource list.
  12. Encourage two-sided printing.
  13. From interview with Rich Maltzman and Dave Shirley on the Cranky Middle Manager : don’t print email, tag it and use an electronic reader with highlighting capability, use collaborative tools, and make “green” part of proposal and contract thinking.
  14. Try using old fashion water coolers that require fewer natural resources than bottled water.
  15. Use PDF or Microsoft Word review and comment features rather than edit and comment using printed copies.
  16. Purchase paper with recycled content.
  17. Where possible, use sunlight and open windows to reduce energy costs.
  18. Cultivate “green” knowledge to help win new business opportunities.

Now, I leave you to ponder a few hard issues that I have come across as we are asked more and more frequently by organizations and clients to adhere to their sustainability policies.

  • Do you print an important presentation on re-cycled paper? ( when it is going to the client)
  • How do you juggle turning off computers at night for power versus leaving them on for doing backups?
  • Do all of your printers do double sided printing automatically? If not – have you priced what it will cost to buy that?
  • How many organizations still require a physical signature on a piece of paper? How do you get that changed?

I am not trying to be negative here – just pointing out that “going green” may require more than just simple policies.  Good PMs practice means balancing the needs of the project with the requirements (and spirit) sof these policies.

Please add your going-green ideas for project managers via your comments.


One Response to “PM Colors – Greening project management”

  1. Daniel Linman, MyMG Contributor Says:

    Greening PM is quite a natural thing today because the idea of “green management” gets stronger, and many people start using documents in electronic format instead of traditional paper-sheet format.

    In my office we try to use only electronic documents with electronic signature.

    Thanks for the post.

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