Free Green IT Webinar. Right here. Right now. Or whenever.

Simple short post.  We provide for you free below a 1-hour webinar on the subject of sustainability and IT (or popularly called GreenIT) through our partnership with the Sustainability Learning Centre.





Please enjoy.


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So close – and yet so far

cannotcatch Since we wrote Green Project Management in 2010 (and since 2011, when it was recognized with PMI’s Cleland Award for Literature), we have seen our colleagues increasingly buy in to the importance of sustainability in business and the importance of sustainability in projects.  From time to time we even  run into like-minded individuals and groups who really grasp this intersection.

But it’s elusive. Like a fly ball just… just… a little too far above your glove that could be your game ending out instead turns out to be a game-winning, stand-up triple for your opponent… it’s so close, and yet so far away.    Even when our book cover was being selected, the publisher wanted us to choose between various covers which (literally) had daisies and windmills and solar panels because of the aspect of “green” overpowering the true message we brought – the integration of sustainability thinking into projects.  In short, the idea of thinking past the end date of the project to the project being in operation for the steady state, and even thinking through to the disposal of the project’s product.

By the way, the book cover ended up being a tree (see below), but a tree that generated cash, reinforcing the idea (just as those 93% of CEOs figured out) that doing the right thing helps you do things right.   Focusing on the TRIPLE bottom line does indeed help the classical economic bottom line.


How our book cover actually came out…

Yes, of course, when we discuss projects, it could be a project to tackle poverty, save a species, build a wind farm, increase fair trade, find better, more efficient shipping routes – you name it – yes, of course it could be a “sustainability project”.  But it could also be a simple introduction of a new version of software (or a new app), a bridge, an advertising campaign, a product launch.  Our point was the same no matter the project: think long-term while planning your shorter-term project.  Understand your organization’s sustainability goals and align your project’s objectives to those goals.

So we were happy to see a feature story in the current issue of PMI’s PMNetwork magazine, entitled “Taking Responsibility”.  We particularly like the opening statistics: 93% of CEOs believe that sustainability is important to their business.

In fact, stop right here and listen to that again.  Ninety-three percent of CEOs, that is, the people who SPONSOR YOUR PROJECTS, most likely, believe that sustainability is important to their business.  So, it better be IMPORTANT TO YOUR PROJECT, which is part of a program/portfolio of projects all under the auspices of that same CEO.

However, the article, instead of talking about the overall integration of sustainability into projects, focuses on the (also important) aspect of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) projects.   And only those projects.

In other words, the article – and much of PMI’s attention to sustainability – seems to be too ‘segmented’ or pigeon-holed into stories and themes like this article and not enough focused on the overall, holistic integration of sustainability into projects.

Sensing this, our next book, Sustainability in Projects, Programs, and Portfolios: Realizing Enterprise Benefits and Goals, will take extra time to make this clear and will even provide a tool set to measure the depth of integration in your organization – and to provide a means to shore up the areas in which you have the most room for improvement.

We are enjoying the process of writing it and trust that you’ll enjoy reading it as well.

Stay tuned to EarthPM, we promise to provide teasers and even a little content.  It will almost be like reading the book.  So close, and yet, so far away…

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Hacking Algae



This week, a strange combination of two different stories with a common thread caught our attention.

The first, we already blogged about on our “People, Planets, Profits, and Projects blog -  “All our patents are belong to you“.

In that post, we discuss how Tesla was giving away its patents for electric vehicle innovation.  Since we posted we’ve heard other interesting angles (including this one from the Naked Scientists) on that event and how it was good altruistically but also made good business sense.

The second story is here.  From the Washington Post, it’s about a company named Algenol, which has developed a patented process to create biofuel from blue-green algae.

Here’s how the story opens:

About 16 months ago, a Florida-based biofuel company called Algenol noticed that its Internet service was slowing down. In checking that out, Jack Voth, Algenol’s information technology chief, stumbled on something odd: a telnet connection to its videoconference camera from an Internet Protocol address in China, a country where Algenol has never sought to do business.

That was only the beginning. Ever since, Algenol has been on high alert for what Voth describes as “nefarious activity;” the company estimates that hackers have attempted to break into its computers 39 million times in four months this year, triple the level of a year earlier.

The most serious of these were more than 63,000 attempts that came directly from China, including 6,653 attempts over 15 months from IP addresses and servers that Algenol says are the same as the Peoples’ Liberation Army addresses identified in a public report by Mandiant, a leading computer security firm.

This indicates the demand for this type of technology.  However, there simply has to be a better way to collaborate than to hack.

We think China, or any country, is better than this.  Why not partner with Algenol rather than hack into their systems, slowing down their IT systems and distracting them from their mission?  We’d encourage those who are undertaking this attempt to “aggressively borrow” the intellectual property of Algenol to instead seek to collaborate.  And we would encourage Algenol to consider the model developed by Tesla in our other story.  Perhaps this business model would work for them as well.

Here’s a brief video about the process Algenol uses to produce fuel from algae with their founder, Paul Woods.Probably not enough detail for the ‘hack-inclined’ but still very interesting…

The project management angle is the theme of mission/vision and how it’s connected to the portfolio of projects that an enterprise undertakes to accomplish them.

Should one of the subtending programs in the portfolio be… collaboration?


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It’s about time… <<** UPDATE 2 **>>




<**UPDATED**> To  show the feedback from our presentation (see below).

A long, long time ago, there was a television show that was about, well, it was about “a long long time ago”.  The show, “It’s About Time”, didn’t last long.  You can judge for yourself why by watching a full episode here.

But it is appropriate for this post, because we wanted to talk about the aspect of scheduling – in particular project scheduling, which indeed is about time, that has to do with sustainability and long-term project management thinking.

We were asked to present at the Scheduling Community of Practice (PMI’s Scheduling CoP) Annual Conference and actually recorded our session – on schedule – today.

It aired on the CoP’s session on July 10.  We were on for 2:15 to 3:15 PM Eastern US time, see the chart below; see the feedback right under that.




reviews of Scheduling CoP preso



The session is  available for replay.  It’s 45 minutes long with questions and answers but here we’d just like to give you the core message by giving you a sneak peek at one slide.


We know the blog post title is “It’s About Time”, and it is.  But this core message – the message of or talk at the Scheduling CoP – is that within time management, it’s about perspective.  Here you see a PM focused as he should be on the alarms, headaches, tasks, and milestones of his project.  But he has his back towards the future and is blind to it as he focuses intently on the present.  If he stays in this position throughout the project, not only does he risk a spinal injury, he fails to take advantage of the perspective to be gained by looking at the steady state of his project.

Now look at this PM’s alter ego – the one wearing white, peering ahead at the future with – gasp – binoculars.  This PM is letting the project (the blue area) temporarily get ‘squished’ so that he can see the future (the green area) in more detail and take back lessons, information, stakeholders, risks, and context back (ironically – back) to his project.

So if you were wondering about the possible relationship between the Scheduling Community of Practice and our long-term perspective of PM (featured in our book, Green Project Management), there you have it in very short form.

The Scheduling CoP conference is to take place on 10-July 2014 AD.  Click on the image below – or here - for details.  See you there!  Be on time!



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EarthPM Salutes ECOCAR2…and ECOCAR3!


We don’t want to bore you with a long post, but we do want to share with you something to which we contribute and are proud to be associated with.

It’s called EcoCAR2, and we’ve been happily collaborating with the planners of this 3-year event which has just culminated with a “Year 3 Competition” in which 15 universities from all over North America competed in a contest to convert a 2013 Chevy Malibu into a hybrid vehicle – improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions while keeping the car “showroom ready” and comfortable.  General Motors – a key sponsor – wouldn’t want it any other way.

In some cases, the student teams beat the stock vehicle’s specifications.  Quite impressive.

Recognizing that this was a project in all senses of the word, and a sustainability-oriented one at that, Argonne National Labs, a part of the US Department of Energy, called on EarthPM to train the hundreds of students (focusing on the business managers and project managers in the teams, of course) in project management fundamentals and in sustainability thinking applied to PM – and also to do some customized training in presentation skills.

It really warms our hearts to see the outcome of the event (The Ohio State University was the ultimate winner) but the attached video – in which we can see the students using some of the presentation skills – is something we just felt would be great to share.

You can see a full list of the universities and their awards here.  Perhaps your alma mater is amongst the top performers?

Whatever little bit we helped, we’re glad not only to have been associated with ECOCAR2 but even more proud to continue with the next edition – ECOCAR3, which will use a Chevy Camaro as the stock vehicle.

Enjoy the video!

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