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.

Energy Bill, v2.0: why project managers should care


We’ve blogged a lot about the Climate Bill, and why it was delayed, and how it could possibly be revived.  And today, US Senators Kerry and Lieberman did revive the bill…

From Newsweek magazine, 12-May:

There’s a lot in there, packed in tight. Nuclear proponents get the green light for new plants and research with $54 billion in federal loan guarantees. Renewable energy folks also get a boost with extended subsidies. There’s a directive to increase research on carbon capture and sequestration (a.k.a. clean coal), an intricate system to reduce greenhouse gases, and a full plan to integrate job creation at every step. Plus, about 15 pages in the 987-page bill address the hot-potato topic du jour: oil drilling, which will increase. But the difference is that states will be allowed to veto drilling projects within 75 miles of their coastline. And if that’s not enough, a revenue-sharing process will compensate coastal states for stomaching the risks.

But instead of repeating what’s in the bill, we’d like to answer some critics’ valid question about the bill:

Why should project managers care about this?  Let’s forget the element of project managers being residents of Earth and that whole altruistic aspect.  Throw that away*.  Now.  With that disposed of, say the critics, why would project managers care at all about this bill?

We have a very simple mathematical formula for you.

The bill has 987 pages.  The word “project” shows up 573 times.

Yes.  Go back and read that again.

There are 573 occurrences of the word project, in a document that is 987 pages long.  Averaged out, that means that almost 60% of the pages have a reference to projects.  That’s why you should care, if for no other reason.  This is a bill that will increase the demand for your very discipline.  Oh, wait.  You’re a program manager?  Well, the word program occurs 563 times.

Think we’re kidding?

We provide you below with links to the full Newsweek article and also the summary and full text of the American Power Act.

Short summary

Full American Power Act text (PDF)

Newsweek article

So we humbly suggest that you may want to care about the bill…

* “we design products to be thrown ‘away’ when, in fact, there is no ‘away’”

-William McDonough and Michael Braungart, Cradle to Cradle