Plug in your PM Career and Drive it with Sustainability


Rich Maltzman, PMP and David Shirley, PMP


The Irony of it All

You’d think that as leading proponents of sustainability thinking in project management, and authors of the Cleland Award-winning book Green Project Management, we would be in favor of unplugging.  That is, saving energy, preventing waste…you know, being “green”.

And, indeed, we are in favor of unplugging.

But there’s an exception to this general rule of unplugging – a big exception, and with implications for your career.  Yes – your career.  And be advised, this story is loaded with vitamin I – for Irony.  So chow down.

The first part of this ironic story has to do with a huge source of power for Project Managers, a renewable source of endless project energy that often, as shown in the sophisticated schematic diagram on the right, goes untapped.  What is this power of which we speak?

It’s simple – it’s the power of your own organization. And it’s right there ‘above’ and ‘below’ you.

Sources of Power in Your Organization

Let’s start at the top. We refer to the power in your organization’s Purpose, Identity, and Long-term Intentions.  These are the Top Leadership ideals that are often publicly stated, and always should be communicated to shareholders and employees.  They give “ideation” to your organization.

Now let’s jump down to the bottom.  Your organization’s heartbeat, its flow, is its operations.  This is the day-to-day reality of your business.

Project Managers Work At the Heart of the Organization’s Power

And where are we, the project, program, and portfolio managers of the world?  We, dear friends, are where the rubber (the strategy that comes from Ideation) meets the road (the operations).

Below you see the Strategic Execution Framework or SEF (courtesy and copyright of IPS), which is used as the basis of Stanford University’s Center for Professional Development’s Certificate in Advanced Project Management.  We were lucky enough to attend several of their excellent courses where this concept is featured.  It struck a resounding chord with us because we have always preached that project managers can gain power by aligning with the organization’s strategy, and often overlook this.


To read entire paper (click here)

About the Authors

Rich Maltzman, PMP


Rich Maltzman, PMP, has been an engineer since 1978 and a Project Management supervisor since 1988, including a recent 2-year assignment in The Netherlands in which he built a team of PMs overseeing deployments of telecom networks in Europe and the Middle East. His project work has been diverse, including projects such as the successful deployment of the entire video and telecom infrastructure for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, to the 2006 integration of the PMOs of two large merging corporations. As a second, but intertwined career, Rich has also focused on consulting and teaching, having developed curricula and/or taught at Boston University’s Corporate Education Center; Merrimack College; Northern Essex Community College; and the University of Massachusetts – Lowell, USA.

Rich has also professionally developed PMP-exam prep courseware, including exams and books. He even edited and was “the voice” for a set of 8 Audio CDs – a major part of a PMP prep course for an international company, for whom he has also facilitated PMP exam study groups. Rich was selected for the Modeling Team for the 4th Edition PMBOK Guide to be published by PMI in 2008, and contributed to the chapters on Quality and Risk. Recently, Rich presented at two international conferences – the PMO Symposium in San Antonio, TX, and the PMO Summit in Coconut Grove, FL, the subject being the development framework for Project Managers.

Currently, Rich is Senior Manager, Learning and Professional Advancement, at the Global Program Management Office of a major telecom concern.  Rich’s educational background includes a BSEE from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and an MSIE from Purdue University. In addition, Rich has a mini-MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and a Master’s Certificate in international business management granted jointly from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and INSEAD of France. From a Project Management standpoint, Rich received his PMP in 2000 after earning the Stevens Institute’s Master’s Certificate in 1999. He has presented papers on Project Management at conferences in Huizen, The Netherlands, Mexico City and Long Beach, California.

Rich is currently co-authoring a book with Ranjit Biswas, PMP, entitled “The Fiddler on the Project”, a portion of which is being collaboratively written on the web via a wiki, http://fiddlerontheproject.wikidot.com, and posts regularly on his blog, Scope Crêpe, http://scopecrepe.blogspot.com.  Rich can be contacted at [email protected].

Dave Shirley, PMP


Dave Shirley, PMP, has been an instructor and consultant, with more than 30 years experience in management and project management, in the corporate, public, and small business arenas.  He has presented at such prestigious organizations as The Conference Board and the PMI® Global Congress.  Dave has also focused on consulting and teaching at the graduate level, having developed curricula and is currently teaching project management, IT project management and Green IT at Boston University;  and corporate social responsibility and environmental issues at Southern New Hampshire University.  Dave has previously been associated with Northern Essex Community College and New England College in the United States.  Dave Shirley can be contacted at [email protected]

Rich Maltzman and Dave Shirley are the authors of the award-winning book, Green Project Management, published in 2010 by CRC Press.  For information about the book, visit http://www.crcpress.com/product/isbn/9781439830017.