I recently finished reading Green Project Management by Richard Maltzman and David Shirley. A few years old now, it won the 2011 Project Management Institute (PMI) David I. Cleland Literature Award, presented to those who significantly advance concepts and knowledge in the field of Project Management. There are many detailed chapters, but I will highlight several areas from Chapter 3, “Understanding Green Project Fundamentals,” which serves as a general introduction to the topic.

Greenality is a measurement of a project’s green quality. It measures the eco-friendliness of your project and processes. Greenality relates directly to quality, in that it’s less expensive to prevent issues earlier than to fix them later. For this reason, it is necessary to integrate greenality alongside other project planning processes early on, avoiding any inspection-like stigma that can be assumed.

Nonproduct Output (NPO) is a phrase that describes decreasing production-related wastes that are not included in the final project deliverable. Reducing NPO is listed in three (3) steps:

  • Step one (1): Redesign the product so that all project resources are maximized, eventually producing zero waste
  • Step two (2): Reduce the usage of raw materials producing the waste
  • Step three (3): Reuse the component in its current state without modifications

Reading this section made me think of a recent occurrence in my own life. I just purchased a solar-powered watch that is a part of a new eco-drive series from the manufacturer. However, the model itself looks to be a popular model from the past, with some changes. By removing the battery altogether and reducing future battery replacement costs for the consumer, the manufacturer provides two (2) excellent examples of reducing NPO.

It is the responsibility of the PM to drive sustainability. As natural change-driven leaders, providing information to stakeholders is crucial. As Consultants, we are aware that the more information a client has on a service offering, the more willing they will be to take a chance. And remember, introducing these projects will only help your organization as you cut costs and finish projects in a more environmentally friendly way.

Although general, my goal is to introduce you to greenality. Personally, I think it makes enough sense to be applied to any project we are on, small or large. With 3.5 million tons of electronic waste being discarded in the United States annually, there are plenty of opportunities to improve the way we are doing things. There are plenty of resources available online if you’re interested in learning more!