Hannover and over and over again

We’re in the midst of reading the newest book by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, authors of Cradle to Cradle.  The book is called Upcycle.  In it, the authors reiterate the Hannover Principles, created by the authors.

Here they are, in short form:

  1. Insist on the right of humanity and nature to co-exist in a healthy, supportive, diverse and sustainable condition.
  2. Recognize interdependence.
  3. Respect relationships between spirit and matter.
  4. Accept responsibility for the consequences of design decisions upon human well-being, the viability of natural systems and their right to co-exist.
  5. Create safe objects of long-term value.
  6. Eliminate the concept of waste.
  7. Rely on natural energy flows.
  8. Understand the limitations of design.
  9. Seek constant improvement by the sharing of knowledge.

Now, we realize that some of these may seem flowery and vague, but their books provide the necessary substance to make them very worthwhile.

And we won’t review them all here, of course, but just look at the list – you’ll see things that should tickle your fancy as a project manager.

For example: Recognize Interdependence… as PMs, this is our strength!  We break silo walls and encourage, cajole, or sometimes even force the parts of the puzzle in our projects to work together, recognizing more than anyone how they need to work together.

For example: Eliminating Waste… as PMs we do this all the time.  We need to get the most efficient use of team members’ contributions.

For example: Sharing Knowledge… can you say ‘Lessons Learned”?

The thing is – ALL of these apply in one way or another to our discipline, not just the three obvious ones we point out above in blue.

As we said, we’re in the midst of reading the book – expect a review here later.  If you don’t – nudge us, we will do it, but we may have to be prodded.  When we do, one of the interesting project management angles will be our assessment that the authors repeatedly use the word project in the book but do not seem to identify (as we have) project managers as key contributors to the important efforts they identify.

That’s one of the reasons we’re here.  We think a lot of the “sustainability-focused” people don’t get the PM ‘thing’.  And vice-verse.  PMs don’t always get the “sustainability” thing.

Thus – the intersection of PM and sustainability… and why you should stay tuned to EarthPM.

Efficient projects, SMARTER project work


Today, we present a guest post from blogger Roger Gallager

It evokes the SMARTER principle we first proposed in Green Project Management (C) 2010, CRC Press.

SMARTER is made up of the usual SMART objectives:

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound

and our addition of

Environmentally Responsible.  Now, take it away, Roger:


Can Working Efficiently Save the Planet?

Roger Gallager
“Work harder” has been replaced by “work smarter” in the past few years. Depleting resources have inspired companies and offices to maximize productivity while going green. Efficiency has become a key concern in the office to make most of the limited supply. But, can the steps taken by the companies really help the planet? Here are a few smart ways that can increase productivity while making Mother Nature happy.

Going Paperless

Do you still remember how things were done in the 80s and early 90s? You have to hunt down different people to sign tons of paperwork just to communicate with the other team across the hall. Not only is it very inefficient, offices often produce a large amount of paper trash. With the birth of the Cloud, paperless is no longer just a possibility, but a reality. Companies, such as Google, are now taking huge steps in going paperless.


Cloud applications make office communication easier and real time. No need to worry about burying yourself in paperwork as online applications, such as Google Drive or Zoho, already streamline processes in the office. Now more than ever, it is way easier to talk to the production team or the human resources department without setting your foot out the door. Not only you and your team can get to finish tasks efficiently, you are also helping the planet.

Change Your Schedule

Working 9-5 every single week day can be boring. Your creative process may start early in the day and you just spend the rest of the afternoon daydreaming. Or you may spend the first half of your day waking yourself up and start your tasks later. In both cases, your productivity is cut in half which can be critical for your team. Every one of us has different productivity rhythms. Some are morning larks, while others can work late through the night.


Mix things up with your schedule to refresh yourself. You may ask your boss to give you one day of the week to work at home. By relieving yourself of the usual structured day, you can give your mind a breather and take on tasks from a different angle. In the end, you reduce commute time, increase productivity, and the office gets to save on expenses and resources at least once a week. Studies show that a four-day workweek reduces your office’s carbon footprint.

On The Move

Ever dreamt of working in a restaurant with your laptop while sipping coffee? It may no longer be as impossible as you think. Upgrading to laptops or tablets frees you from your cubicle and enables creative thinking. By going mobile, teams can work in their own personal spaces and engage in creative processes. By taking advantage of paperless workflow and mobile devices, it makes it easier to manage projects as assigning tasks and monitoring are done real time, increasing team productivity.


You also save energy consumption by unplugging from the power source. Appliances, such as desktop computers, still use energy even in hibernate mode, also known as “phantom power”. The unused power contributes to the electricity bill and a huge environmental culprit. Laptops and tablets only require power sources when you’re running out of battery, eliminating constant energy usage.


Being smart on how you and your team work can increase productivity and efficiency. Also, using as little resources as possible saves the company a lot of money while doing their part in helping the planet.


Take A Lesson from Blueberry Jam

blueberrySustainability efforts begin at home and at a “homey” business. Stonewall Kitchen, a company built on a grandma’s recipe for blueberry jam, has made significant inroads to sustainability, and was recognized for it. Congratulations!! Here is the news release:
YORK (Maine) — Specialty food manufacturer and retailer Stonewall Kitchen received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Food Recovery Challenge Achievement Award for demonstrating its commitment to improving sustainable food management practices in 2010 and 2011.
“During the past few years, we have focused on improving our food and waste management practices,” said Janine Somers, director of marketing. “To date, we have developed an internal zero-waste and sustainability program. We have also updated our outbound packaging and compost process and materials. For example, our packing peanuts are water-soluble, compostable or recyclable.”
As an active participant in the EPA’s WasteWise Program, Stonewall Kitchen submitted its sustainable food management practices for consideration. By using a combination of single-sort recycling and composting, Stonewall Kitchen employees dispose items into designated containers that are sent to select Dumpsters that recycle plastic, metal and paper goods. Food waste is also sorted and bagged separately for local compost initiatives such as fertilizer for local landscapers and farms. For more about WasteWise, visit www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/smm/wastewise/index.htm. For more about Stonewall Kitchen, visit www.stonewallkitchen.com

Your Project Management Personality

We normally blog about the intersection of PM and Sustainability.  But sometimes we blog purely on climate science and/or sustainability and sometimes on pure PM themes.

Today we swing over to that PM side again.

Below you will see a very interesting infographic which first shows us 7 PM personality characteristics (Guidance, Adaptable, Detail Oriented, Delegator, Vision, Creative, and Resourceful).  By assessing yourself in each of those characteristics on a scale of 1 to 1o, you then can see which of the seven personality personas that best describe you:

  • Micromanager
  • Overachiever
  • Superhero
  • Strategist
  • Macro-manager
  • General
  • Mentor

Have some fun with this – and note the sources at the bottom for further reference!

Oh, one more thing – which of the personas do you think makes the best sustainability-minded PM?  We have our opinion (of course!) and we wonder if you agree.  We’ll reveal our answer on demand within a couple of weeks.

The 7 Project Manager Personalities: Which One Are You? – An infographic by the team at
Zoho Project Management


Can we make a difference? The stats and experts say, “….yes, and we need to”.

make a difference phrase on blackboard

The latest issue (web and paper) of PM Network magazine has some interesting data and interviews which were not aimed at the intersection between sustainability and PM, but which, nevertheless, made strong points – very, very strong points – for our argument that this intersection of sustainability and PM is key.

We’ll use three snippets of the magazine to show what we mean.

The first is from a web-exclusive report called “The Race Ahead“.  An odd mixture of good and bad news, let’s start off with the bad, with a piece called “Projects are missing the mark”.  In this piece, the stats show that the percentage of projects delivering on their original business goals slipped from 72% last year, to 62% this year.  Key words: original business goals.  We think all PMs need to step back, look at their enterprise-level web page – the external one, that is – and see what your organization is saying about sustainability, about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and about the long-term, sustained financial performance.  Although projects are -necessarily by definition – short term, their outcome is NOT.  Perhaps browse through your company’s Annual Report.  We would be very surprised if these terms aren’t featured.  Is your project connected to that?  Maybe this is one of the reasons projects are beginning to ‘separate’ from overall business goals.  We know that it’s not the singular reason – but it’s got to…make a difference.


Here’s the good news – in contrast, and perhaps even in contradiction to the above.

Compared with last year, this graphic asserts, the percentage of projects aligned with organizational strategy is up 76%.


So we leave it to you to understand that dichotomy.  The takeaway is that connection to strategic (read that as ‘sustainable, long-term, thoughtful, holistic) goals, is increasing.

Below is a piece of an article from the issue in which PM and Change Management are discussed.  We do a lot of research on Change Management because – after all, the consideration of sustainability in PM is definitely a change.  Look at Mr. Sparrow’s comment below”


Nailed it, Mr. Sparrow – spot on.

If the project manager doesn’t get the buy in from all stakeholders, using good change management principles, the project’s product probably won’t pop out, and even if it does, it will have an unsustainable outcome.  We have scores of blog posts illustrating this, check our archives.

Have a look at this month’s PM Network magazine.  Beyond these gens you will also find an article on Lean Projects that we think you’ll find interesting.