Terror Under the Tundra

This is a bit of a scary sequel to The Promise of the Waxworm, the prior blog post in a series of 2.

In my previous post (The Promise of the Waxworm) I discussed some of the ideas of secondary risk, applied lightly to concepts of sustainability and focused more on the definition of secondary and residual risk.  Consider this post a sequel.  In this post, I’d like to tie the concept a little more tightly to climate change to illustrate a rather extreme form of secondary risk which almost sounds like residual risk (leftover risk) because of the lengths of time involved.  However – it is indeed secondary risk – particularly secondary threat, perhaps a big one, as you’ll see.

You may want to be seated for this, it’s a bit alarming.  Are you seated?  Okay.  Proceed.

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The Promise of The Waxworm

(This is from my Projects@Work blog post series.  Read the entire post HERE.)

There’s a recent story in the news about waxworms.  Several outlets covered it but I like this coverage from ABC (Australia).

I love how the story opens:

“Scientist and amateur beekeeper Federica Bertocchini picked parasitic wax worms from the honeycomb of her beehives and left them sitting in a plastic bag.

When she returned to the bag, it was riddled with holes and many of the worms had escaped.

It was that chance discovery that led her to collaborate with scientists at the University of Cambridge in England to unearth the possibility of using worms to munch through the world’s plastic problem.”

Why do I like this opening so much?

—It expresses the idea of a threat becoming an opportunity

—It shows the value of science

—It has a promise to solve a problem for the planet

Let’s take these one by one.

Threats and Opportunities

PMI defines risk as “an uncertain event, which, it occurs, has a positive or negative effect on project objectives”. In this case, we have a threat, which Bertocchini was treating (or responding to) by removing and bagging the worms. The risk response had a secondary risk, which in this case was an opportunity. Usually, a secondary risk is a threat…. continue reading…

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Owl Aboard Parts 1 and 2


Check out the 2-part series “Owl Aboard!” from our Projects@Work site:

Part 1: Data, Information, Knowledge, and Wisdom

Part 2: Get Your Owl On

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Proud Frankensteins






In a way, we’ve felt a little like Dr. Frankenstein, trying to put together a living, breathing body (of knowledge) on sustainability thinking in project management. A small group of us who have labored in this area, writing books, presenting at conferences, starting LinkedIn groups, tweeting, working within our own organizations, even suggesting over 25 specific changes to the PMBOK® Guides over the past 5 years… we have been pushing for the fundamental idea that if project management – as a discipline – thinks PAST the end of the project, good things will happen. This focus on benefits realization is only one element of what we mean by sustainability thinking in project management, but it’s an important part – maybe even the monster’s heart.

Well, we are beginning to see the monster stir.



If you’d like to help the monster rise up, take a walk, maybe even get friendlier and healthier, check out the Sustainability Manifesto for Projects.

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Run, Forest, Run!

Our latest blog post from Projects@Work is particularly interesting in that it goes over some recent (and fantastic!) discoveries from the world of life science.  The discoveries are around the way that forests run (thus the lame reference to Forrest Gump in the post title).

It’s about connections.  It involves beagles, mushrooms, a critter named a ‘springtail’, and of course, trees.

We think you’ll like the connections we make to project management and sustainability.  Have a look (and listen!).



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