SPONSORS

SPONSORS

Balancing projects with society and the environment: A project, programme and portfolio approach

FEATURED PAPER

Alex Hope and Robert Moehler

University of Northumbria

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
________________________________________________________________________

Abstract

Issues such as global climate change, poverty & inequity, and the unsustainable use of resources are driving organisations to incorporate the principles of sustainable development into strategy and operations. Recently project management has drawn criticism of lacking sufficient governance to respond to such issues and the local interpretation and lessons learned have had little success in addressing this.  Whilst sustainability principles can be actively influenced, encouraged and monitored through project portfolio programme and project management, there are often problems with translating vision and strategy into project practice. Here we suggest that portfolio and programme management presents an opportunity to integrate visionary and strategic sustainability with operational sustainability. Moreover a programme and portfolio approach can lead to enhanced opportunity to share sustainability practice between projects Therefore sustainability has to be an integrated part of Portfolio, Programme and Project processes to support and achieve the objectives of an organisation.  Here the governance of organisational practice and the triple bottom line interlinks the processes to support the operational strategy of an organisation.

Keywords: Project Portfolio Management; Programme Management; Sustainability; Project Organisation; CSR.

Introduction

The discipline of project management is evolving. This is partly due to ongoing improvements in organisational learning and the state of the art in project management, but also as a response to a changing world. The latter includes the challenge and responding to global environmental issues such as climate change, energy security, issues of social justice and resource depletion. It has been suggested that the discipline of project management is ideally placed to deal with these challenges (Association for Project Management, 2006; Lock, 2007; Taylor, 2010). However there is an emerging body of knowledge that suggests that current standards for project management fail to seriously address the sustainability issues (Eid, 2011; Silvius and Schipper, 2011). Project management practitioners and scholars are beginning to respond to these challenges by suggesting the incorporation of sustainability principles into project management strategy and operations, however there is a need to translate this good will into practice. Thus, there is a need for sustainability to be an integrated part of business as usual.

Today, much of organisational activity is undertaken in the form of projects, and projects are the means of delivering corporate strategy. The term project management is increasingly encompassing management of corporate project portfolios. Many of the key drivers and enablers of strategy, tactics and operations within project management that have a direct bearing on project successes are focused at the governance level. It is here that key strategic objectives are developed, integrated into project plans and communicated through to the project team.  It also provides a structure through which the objectives of the project are set, the means of attaining those objectives are determined and the means of monitoring performance are decided (Turner, 2006). Project governance also determines the relationship between a project’s management, its client, its sponsor, its owner and other stakeholders (Turner, 2006). If project management is to incorporate the principles of sustainable development into daily operations, this process must begin at the level of governance. 

More…

To read entire paper (click here)


About the Authors

pmwj20-mar2014-hope-AUTHOR1 HOPEflag-ukAlexander Hope

University of Northumbria

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Dr. Alex Hope PhD BSc (hons) AIEMA MCMI is Lecturer in Sustainable Development and Project Management in the School of Built and Natural Environment, Northumbria University, UK where he teaches on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Previous to this he has worked in operational and project management roles in both the private and public sector. He holds a degree in Environmental Management, diploma in Leadership and Management and a PhD in Sustainable Development. Dr. Hope’s main research interests include Sustainability in Project Management, Sustainable Construction, PPP/PFI procurement, and Environmental Assessment Methodologies.  He can be contacted at [email protected].  To see additional works by this author, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library.

pmwj20-mar2014-hope-AUTHOR2 MOEHLERflag-ukRobert Moehler

University of Northumbria

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK 

Robert Moehler is Senior Lecturer in Project Management in the Project Management Group within the Faculty of Engineering and Environment at the University of Northumbria at Newcastle upon Tyne where he follows scholarly activity in Project Governance and Organisation. This includes teaching and supervision on postgraduate degrees and research activity with local businesses.  Previous to this he has worked in R&D and project management roles in both the private and public sector. His degrees are MEng in Building Materials (Berlin, Germany), MSc in Project Management (Northumbria), PG Cert in Higher Education Practice (Northumbria) and in pursuit of a PhD in Organisational Skills Development (Northumbria part-time). Robert’s main research interests include Governance in Project Management, Skills development, Organisational Studies, Phronetic social science and Spheres of Knowing.