Know Thy Stakeholders

When the new PMBOK(R) Guide comes out soon – the 5th Edition, that is – it will include a brand-new Knowledge Area.

For fans of Project Management (and who isn’t one?) there are currently 9 Knowledge Areas, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, no…wait.  Wrong list.  Let me check.  How about this one: Dancer, Blitzen, Rudolf… nope.  Still not quite right.

Ah.  We remember now.  The nine Knowledge Areas (in the 4th Edition) are (in no particular order): Integration, Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, HR, Communications, Risk, and Procurement.

And, introducing, for the first time ever, in the 5th Edition: Stakeholder Management.

So PMI (rightly) has decided to focus uniquely on Stakeholder Management rather than distribute it in the other knowledge areas, mainly Communications and Integration.

What does this have to do with sustainability?

Turns out: alot.

As a PM we need to know our stakeholders.  As we’ve asserted in over 300 posts here and of course in our book, as well as recent talks in Malaysia and South Florida (note: both have palm trees), projects produce outcomes.  Those outcomes outlive the project.  Sometimes by centuries.  Imagine, for example, a single-serve coffeemaker that produces a great cup of coffee, but in the steady-state also produces non-recyclable cups.  Say… about 12 billion of them.  That, dear PM friends, is an outcome that outlasts our project.

Should we care about it?

Well, that may depend on your own personal views.

But be careful.

It’s not only about YOU.

It’s about the coffee drinkers, the customers, the STAKEHOLDERS who may just care.   And in this article we picked up from the Associated Press, the statistics show that these stakeholders care deeply, and increasingly about ecological issues.

For example:

4 out of 5 Americans (yep, Americans) said that climate change will be a serious problem for the US if nothing is done about it.  This is an increase from 73% from just 3 years ago.

57% say that the US government should do “a great deal” about the problem.

One of the biggest changes is this:

Of those who trust scientists “only a little” or “not at all” (in other words, skeptics), 61% admit that temperatures have been rising during the past 100 years.  That is a jump from 47% just three years ago.

So these stakeholders, for example, your sponsors, team members, bosses, engineers, marketeers, internal customers, and end customers, are increasingly aware and concerned about ecological sustainability.

Take a lesson from PMI, and whatever your feelings about sustainability, know thy stakeholders.  It’s not even a lesson.  It’s a whole dang Knowledge Area!



Quo Vadis, Projectmania?

In 1979, a paper was published by A. Chapanis, asking the question Quo Vadis, Ergonomia?  (Latin for “Where are you going, Ergonomics?).  It was considered a landmark paper.

Chapanis was trying to challenge his colleagues in ergonomics (the study of human-machine interface and ‘ease of work) to think hard about what their discipline did and didn’t entail and how they could improve the lot not only for people in the field but for all of its stakeholders.

So – what the HECK does any of this have to do with Projects, Programs, Project Managers, or Program Managers?


A whole bunch.



You see, today, PMI posted on Facebook the following announcement:


“Get ready…beginning 6 February 2012, you will have the opportunity to participate in the update of two key PMI Standards. Visit the Exposure Draft page in the Standards section of PMI in February to view and comment on The Standard for Program Standard—Third Edition and A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)—Fifth Edition.”




Let’s take advantage of it.

Here is a link to the standards exposure page:

Mark your calendar now – for February 6.  Mark it to remind yourself to begin the review of the documents.  Of course, we’d encourage you to review them to assure that the documents take into account the long-term, sustainable view of project management we’ve been discussing with you ad nauseum (keeping the Latin theme here) since we started with a couple of hundred hits per month on this site (we’re now averaging 40-50 thousand).

They didn’t specify when the exposure period ends.  That’s why it’s critical that you initiate a Start-Start dependency with February 6 and review/comment as soon as they’re available for exposure draft.



Thanks for your attention.






At the crossroads

Here at EarthPM we talk about the intersection of green and project management – in fact, it’s our tagline.

So what do we mean by that?

What do we mean when we say that conserving resources is already in the “DNA” of project managers?

Well, if you really want to find out we’d have to say “read our upcoming book“.  But since [A] it’s not yet available, and [B] that’s not directly helpful, we thought we’d instead point out some examples via a posting we found on Bright Hub.

The posting, by Ronda Levine, can be found here.  We actually suggest that you read this brief article now and then come back to this entry.

We’ll wait.

Welcome back.

OK, you read it, right?  Or at least – you skimmed it…?  We hope so.

In the article, Ronda reviews the “top 10 tools for managing project resources”.  Interestingly (and we had nothing to do with this) she uses a wind farm as the intro graphic for the article.

The listing includes: PM Software, Resource Plan, Resource Breakdown Structure, Resource Histogram, the Resource Assignment Matrix, Collaboration Software, The PMBOK® Guide, Resource Leveling, Conflict Management, and Issue Logs.

All of these tools are used to conserve wasted energy on the project.  For example, a Resource Assignment Matrix (RAM) is one of the most powerful tools at the disposal (excuse the pun) of a project manager, in terms of preventing two or more team members from working on the same task – or even worse, having those two or more people assuming that ‘the other guy’ was working it, so nobody gets it done.

How does this relate to green?  Let’s go for the obvious example – two engineers both drive out to a job site 100 miles/km away, not realizing that the other was doing so.  We’re talking about project resources, yes, but we are also talking about the impact of this waste in the larger sense.  Multiply this by the number of times this sort of thing happens – and you get the idea.

Let’s look at the software pieces of Ronda’s list.  PM Software and Collaboration Software.  Both of these (read the book for the details) contribute greatly to savings for your project in terms of concise and clear communication (and thus fewer mistakes, and a greater chance of meeting your customers’ expectations), and they have an environmental aspect as well in terms of their reducing the number of times that folks have to fly or drive to different offices when that really isn’t necessary.

All of these tools – used properly – do contribute to project success, of course.  They also make your project more efficient and thus consume fewer resources.

That’s an example of the intersection of Green and Project Management.  We’re glad you decided to spend some time at this crossroads.  Please, spend some time looking around.