Environmental Consciousness For Project and Program Managersindustrial waste management

Global warming and environmental consciousness is a worldwide concern that encompasses all industries — project management included. With the ongoing debate over balancing technological success with environmental health, project and program managers are called to take action. The question, however, is how. How can project managers go green?

Project and program managers are all responsible for “delivering the goods” – for delivering the products of their projects and programs on time, within budget, and to the required quality standards. For programs, “delivering the goods” also entails the broader aspects of delivering on certain strategic goals within their organization. So, where does environmental consciousness fit into this scheme of “delivering the goods” for their projects and programs?

Here are a few things that can be readily incorporated into the thinking and actions of project and program managers, and how environmental consciousness can be incorporated into any project or program – easily and inexpensively – regardless how the discussions on the issue end up.

1. Establish best practices for recycling. It is usually quite easy to appoint someone at each location to take on this small but significant responsibility.

2. Consider the environment in all decisions. In checklists and meetings, discussions and briefs, papers and documentation, it is not much more effort to include environmental considerations.

3. Practice good conservation of heat and waste management, just as everyone would or should in our homes. This can be facilitated by appointing one team member at each location to take responsibility.

4. Incorporate environmental considerations into any product design. Major changes often spring from one very simple question. Making this a standard item for consideration can have a definite impact on achieving “green design”.

5. Consider the end game on the product of the projects, such as “Will something need to be thrown away?” Doing a little brainstorming about this, perhaps at the same time other considerations are being discussed, can add a little “green consciousness” to everyone’s awareness.

Project and program managers’ ultimate goal is to achieve the results intended and to make sure they are documented correctly. However, it is notable that it is just as easy, if not easier, to execute on these responsibilities and still at all times maintain the highest level of accountability related to the environment. This way, project and program managers do away with the politics behind the issue and focus on their useful contribution to the preservation of the environment.

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