Harvesting Project Value – Parts 1 and 2 (of 2)


This is a two-part post from my blog on ProjectManagement.com (People, Planet, Profits, and Projects) that builds on some recent PM thought leadership by Dr. Harold Kerzner.

Part 1:


Part 1 gives the background of the topic of Benefits Realization Management and the solid connection between that and the element of triple-bottom-line, long-term thinking.  It;s the setup for Part 2 – Project Value Assessment.

Part 2:


In Part 2, I extend this concept as Dr. Kerzner did in his presentation (regarding Project Management 3.0) to the idea of ‘project value’, presenting some specific thinking in the area of decision making and scoring of projects based not only on their immediate deliverables but how they deliver value on a sustained basis, and will consider “harvesting” of project value.

Sustainability as a “force” for new projects

Project Managers: May the Force be with you.

Take a look at this document. (Click here).  Then come back here when you’re done.  We’ll wait…

Dum de dah….dee dee dum…dum…. OH, you’re back.  Good.

Okay, we know that many of you (you know who you are)  have not actually read the document, even though we told you it was short.  So (alas…) we’ll summarize it for you.  The “it” is a fine summary of how Sustainability is tied to innovation, and it’s provided well-respected consulting firm called Deloitte.  Perhaps you’ve heard of them.

Sustainability helps drive innovation through design constraints – the need or desire to reduce or substitute resources used, such as energy, carbon, water, materials, and waste. This focus on reduction or substitution can create a powerful driver for developing  innovative products and operating models.

Examples of how Sustainability Strategy 2.0 thinking drives innovation include:

• Commodity and raw material availability and use. Can we procure all inputs for our production operations? How are environmental events affecting biological stocks? Is consumption depleting nonrenewable resources?

• Energy consumption and cost. Are significant fluctuations in the price of carbon-based fuels likely to continue? Can we reduce our energy intensity to maintain or increase production but use less energy?

• Emissions and waste. Will legislation cause us to account for the cost of greenhouse gas emission? How would the rollout of packaging or waste disposal taxes affect our business?

• Water availability and quality. Will increasing water scarcity affect our ability to use water in production and manufacturing? Will stricter regulations require us to rethink production?

• Demand for sustainable products. How much do consumers and our extended value chain care about the sustainability attributes of our products? Are they willing to pay more for “greener” offerings?”

The report ends with this – in gigantic font:

Conclusion: A broader view of sustainability leads to value creation.

We like this report.  It echos what a lot of leaders are saying.  We just blogged about Ford’s leadership, and prior to that we have quoted Marvin Odom of Shell, in an excellent report from Sloan MIT, in which the Shell Oil President says that sustainability is a major engine of innovation for his company.

And here’s where the Force comes in.

Think about it.  If you’re in electronics, as a project manager, what did the transistor, the chip, the processor do for your career?  How many tens of thousands of projects were launched only because of those innovations?  If you’re in IT, think about the microprocessor.  Or Agile software development.  You know that these innovations have either launched or facilitated millions of projects.  And on and on, with the laser, new developments in pharmaceuticals, materials… the list is nearly infinite.

So if you buy into the idea that we, as project managers, count on innovation as our lifeblood, you should look forward to new innovations coming from – you guessed it – sustainability thinking in organizations.  We preach that project managers need to pick up this form of thinking for the pure value it brings us as PMs.  But with this post we want you to recognize that it is also a driving force for the very projects that keep us employed in the first place.

Maybe it’s no coincidence that Yoda is green….