An Omission Of Olympic Proportions



PMI added an entire chapter on it.

It’s so fundamentally important, that leaving this out can ruin even a small project before it starts.

And yet, there it was – on the front page of The Boston Globe.

I’m talking about stakeholders.  For PMI, this is now a dedicated chapter – Chapter 13 of the PMBOK(R) Guide.

Turns out (you can read the whole story HERE) that the organizing committee did not discuss their plans with key real-estate and business owners who would be significantly affected by the events.

Remember: a stakeholder is anyone affected by the project during its construction (or execution) as well as anyone affected by the product of the project (in this case, the Olympics themselves and any lasting infrastructure).

Several other landowners, including those whose Dorchester properties would be part of the proposed Athletes Village, said Friday they, too, have not heard directly from organizers.
Corcoran Jennison Cos. owns several properties adjacent to the Bayside Exposition Center, which is owned by the University of Massachusetts and would be the center of the Athletes Village. The company owns the Bayside Office Center and the DoubleTree Hotel, which is slated for a $28 million expansion. It is also planning a $40 million residential complex. But Boston 2024 proposes using those properties for housing, a media staging area, or retail shops for competitors.


The irony of this is that the properties discussed above are exactly where we teach a course in Practical Project Management for the University, in which one of the main subjects is… you guessed it… stakeholder identification and engagement.

“We were under the impression that [the Athletes Village] was only on the UMass Boston portion of the property,” said Michael Corcoran, an executive at the firm. “They haven’t contacted us, and we have no intention of slowing our projects.”

Notice the attitude taken by this stakeholder.  Can you predict what this will do to set the tone for future negotiations for them to abandon their project?  It’s not only wrong to leave out stakeholders, it can be deadly to the project and expensive.

Boy, do we have an excellent, and very, very local example to use for class!

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What’s your take?








Watch this!

What do you think?


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Not all wet


Water.  It’s one of our key resources.  After all, we project managers, like most humans, are mostly water.  Yes, it’s true that some stakeholders are made from sugar and spice and everything nice, and some of snakes and snails and puppy-dog tails, but that’s a post for another day.

Something recently came to our attention which we think is exceedingly newsworthy.  It’s in two parts, so you’ll have to be a bit patient – but given that we’re at the start of the new year, and one of your resolutions was to be patient…. you can do it…

The first part is actually a few months old and it has to do with the IDB – the Inter-American Development Bank, and,  basically it is about a new app and software suite that helps deal with preserving water.  And…well, we’ll let them tell you about it:

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) provides substantial financial and technical support for infrastructure projects in water and sanitation, irrigation, flood control, transportation and energy. Many of these projects depend upon water resources and have a significant potential of being negatively affected by local and regional changes in development variables that alter water availability, such as climate, population growth and shifts in land use associated with urbanization, industrial growth and agriculture. Assessing the potential for future changes in water availability is an important step for ensuring that infrastructure projects meet their operational, financial and economic goals. It is also important to examine the implications of such projects for the future allocation of available water among competing users and uses, to anticipate and help mitigate potential conflict, thus enabling such projects to be consistent with long-term regional development plans and preservation of essential ecosystem services.

The IDB has sponsored work to develop and apply an integrated suite of water resources
modeling tools, collectively referred to as Hydro-BID. The Hydro-BID modeling system includes hydrologic analysis modules to estimate the availability (volumes and fluxes) of freshwater at the regional, basin and sub-basin scales.  The Hydro-BID system currently includes:

  • an Analytical Hydrography Dataset (AHD) representing over 230,000 catchments in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region and their corresponding topography, river and stream segments;
  •  a GIS-based navigation tool to browse AHD catchments and streams with the capability of navigating upstream and downstream;
  •  a user interface for specifying the area and time period to be modeled and the location at which water availability will be modeled;
  • a climate data interface to obtain rainfall and temperature inputs for the area and period of interest;
  • a rainfall-run-off model based on the Generalized Watershed Loading Factor formulation;
  • a routing scheme for quantifying time of travel and cumulative flow estimates across
    downstream catchments.

Hydro-BID generates output in the form of a time series (with a choice of time interval, e.g., hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly) of changes in water storage and flow rates for the selected basins and time period. A case study addressing water allocation issues in the Rio Grande basin in Argentina as an illustration of the simulation modeling system’s inputs, operation and outputs was finalized recently. The initial version of Hydro-BID has been received enthusiastically in presentations to potential users and constituents in the IDB and to outside technical audiences via conferences and workshops, and there are several requests for parameterization of the model and practical applications from strategic Bank clients within the Water Resources Sector in LAC (e.g., in Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago and Perú).

In this next phase of development of Hydro-BID, it will also include economic analysis and
decision support tools to estimate the costs and benefits of adaptive measures and help decision makers (including project managers!) make informed choices among alternative designs for infrastructure projects and alternative policies for water resources management.


Here’s a video that shows how it works.

The second part is the really meaningful part to us.  And that is that the story about this software showed up in a segment of the most recent PMNetwork magazine.  And the way it was presented makes the exact point that we’ve been trying to make for the past 6 years: project managers need to see a bigger picture, and to do that, sometimes need to be given tools to help them do that.  Here is the key quote:

The Inter-American Development Bank and PepsiCo have partnered on a product development project to help communities and organizations better understand how proposed projects could affect freshwater supplies.  The resulting water-resource data-management and modeling tool, called Hydro-BID, allows project practitioners
and planners to generate water availability projections based on variables ranging from population to rainfall to land-use scenarios.

It may not seem like much, but it’s huge.  Why?

  • It involves a large multinational company, PepsiCo, buying into the fact that it should care about sustainability issues
  • It shows good cooperation between NGOs, companies, and government
  • And most importantly, it recognizes that projects’ products are not only the immediate product but the product considered for the steady-state, for the long term, within its environment.  It supports the idea that project success is not the same as project management success.  Success is the project’s product delivering its outcome and realizing benefits for the longer term, benefits which align with the enterprise’s stated mission, vision, and values.

This is what our upcoming book – Sustainability in Projects, Programs, and Portfolios – Realizing Enterprise Benefits and Goals –  will cover.  More than coverage, it will actually provide an assessment tool (the Sustainability Wheel(TM)  which will allow you to see how well this type of thinking and action is already embedded in your organization and will provide coaching on how to improve in this area.

But for the meantime, we’re happy to see stories like this appearing in PMNetwork.

We hope it is part of a cascade of improvements in this major gap area for project managers and our discipline of project management.  A wave of sustainability thinking!


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Begin the New Year with a new view – Sustainability in PM


Thanks for a great 2014, everyone!  As we approach the end of the year it’s a perfect time for some introspection, reflection, and planning for the long term.

And what better way to prepare for the long term than to attend a free webinar near the start of 2015, in which you’ll get a set of diverse speakers on the subject we’ve been discussing FOR the long term – sustainability in project management?

Mark your calendars for 14-January-2015.  And while you’re at it, practice writing that strange number…. 2015.  Soon you’ll be putting that in your appointment books, checks, and emails, so we can help you get used to it!

Please forward the post to your friends who are interested in project, program, or portfolio management and/or sustainability.

I know that our presentation has a couple of mysteries and surprises…so we hope to see you there!  See the promotional video below, which has all of the details.

Here is the Google Events page for the Webinar:


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Greenhouse Gases: No Room for Complacency in the UK


A guest post by Grace Reed.

The 2008 Climate Change Act was introduced in order to reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK over the coming decades and EU leaders have recently signed up to a landmark deal that aims to achieve a 40% reduction by 2030 compared to what they were in 1990.
This is a legally-binding agreement that was not actually achieved without a fair amount of additional hot air being expounded in Brussels, due to some vociferous discussions and positioning to protect various members’ interests.

Modest progress on targets
Environmental groups have welcomed the deal that has been struck but still insist that the measures have not gone far enough.
There were deep divisions exposed within the EU members with regard to the level of emissions cuts but at least they managed to agree to boost the use of renewable energy to 27% within the total energy mix, and to increase energy efficiency to at least 27% as well, but hopefully attain a higher percentage.  The UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey went as far as describing the recent deal as an “historic moment”, pointing out that the number of European countries with clear climate targets beyond 2020, has increased from 5 to 28 as a result of the agreement.
You can get more information on greenhouse gas emissions statistics by visiting the site.

How You Can Help
The UK may have its targets, but everyone can do their bit to cut their greenhouse gas emissions irrespective of laws and regulations put in place by the government.
The first thing that you can do is choose your energy company carefully. Many companies are now implementing more renewable energy schemes. For example, npower has built wind farms and has also been involved in various green projects over recent years.
The most important thing to do, however, is to try and change your habits when it comes to energy usage. There are many simple things that you can do right now to reduce your energy use on a daily basis. For example, you could turn off the lights every time you go out of the room, turn off your TV rather than leaving it on standby, make sure computers and gadgets are not left charging longer than they need to be, choose electrical devices that use less energy, and use low-energy light bulbs.
In addition, there are many bigger changes that you could make around your home to make an even larger saving when it comes to reducing your greenhouse gas emissions. One of the simplest things that you can do is to install better insulation in your home. You could do this in the loft or in the walls, and it can help to cut your heating bills dramatically.
In addition, you could install solar panels on your roof if you have a suitable space available. Or you could change your old windows for double-glazing windows, which can again help to save energy and reduce your bills as well as making your home more comfortable to live in.

Aim for a Low-Carbon Lifestyle
The UK may or may not hit its climate change targets by 2050, but we can all make a difference by changing our energy habits. How could you reduce the amount of energy you use around the home? Start by making simple changes and then consider other options like increasing the insulation in your home, then you can make sure that, whatever happens where the UK’s targets are concerned, you are doing your bit in the fight against climate change.

Grace Reed is an environmental researcher. An avid blogger, she likes to research and write about practical and innovative ways to save our planet. Her articles mainly appear on homeowner blogs.

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