PM and IT: a sustainable marriage, made in a Cloud


By Rich Maltzman and Dave Shirley


The role of project management and the project manager are usually well understood and increasingly well-defined in an organization.  With the increasing need to bring products to the market faster, severely limited resources, including money and people, and the necessity to have a structured approach to the introduction of new products and services, a disciplined approach is necessary.  In order to execute properly on that disciplined approach, someone trained in that discipline is needed, and that person is the project manager.  The role of the project manager then is to use learned skills, experiential knowledge to apply the tools and techniques to successfully manage a project.   The PM role is where the ‘rubber meets the road’ or what we like to call ‘the individual who takes ideas to reality.”

Traditionally, that role included planning organizing and controlling a project, usually from the time the sponsor makes the request for a project through the project’s turnover to ongoing operations.  In sustainable project management, the project manager’s responsibility increases back into the project selection process and beyond project turnover to the ultimate disposal of the product of the project.  The increased responsibility is to assure the sustainability of the project throughout the now extended life of the project, ‘cradle-to-cradle’.  We believe that the effort to make the discipline more sustainable (or green if you will) is getting more and more definition and more attention since the publication of our book Green Project Management, CRC Press @2010.  More books have been published and courses have been written based around our basic tenets or “5 assertions”, as we like to call them;

  1.  A project run with green intent (we now say “sustainability thinking”) is the right thing to do, but it will also help the project team do the right thing.
  1. Project managers must first understand the green aspects of their projects, knowing that this will better equip them to identify, manage, and respond to project risks.
  1. An environmental strategy for a project provides added opportunity for success of both the project and the product of the project.
  1. Project managers must view their projects through an environmental lens. This increases the Project Manager’s (and the project team’s) long-term thinking and avails the project of the rising “green wave” of environmentalism.
  1. Project managers must think of the environment in the same way they think of quality. It must be planned in, and the cost of “greenality” like the cost of quality, is more than offset by the savings and opportunities it provides.

In a nutshell;  (1) green intent of project management gives the team direction to protect scarce resources (people, planet, profits), (2) look to the project charter, work breakdown structure, assumptions, constraints and other  project information to assure that sustainability is considered in all aspects of the project, (3) that consideration provides the strategy to ‘protect’ the project’s success criteria by protecting against failure by not adhering to environmental standards and regulation or stakeholder expectation of sustainability, (4) project managers already look at projects through a variety of lenses, like quality and communications, so by looking at the stakeholder expectations,  and long-term (beyond traditional project management boundaries) in terms of  effects of the project helps to make it more ‘sustainable’ in the future, and (5) sustainability must be as much a part of the project manager’s thinking process as quality, and cannot be something that is added on, but must be planned.


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About the Authors

rich-maltzmanflag-usaRich 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 BostonUniversity’s CorporateEducationCenter; MerrimackCollege; NorthernEssexCommunity 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 PurdueUniversity. In addition, Rich has a mini-MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s WhartonSchool and a Master’s Certificate in international business management granted jointly from IndianaUniversity’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 can be contacted at [email protected].

flag-usadave-shirleyDave Shirley, PMP

Dave Shirley, PMP, has been an instructor and consultant, with more than 30 years of 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 NorthernEssexCommunity College and New EnglandCollege in the United States.

He coauthored with Rich Maltzman, Green Project Management, CRC Press 2010, and authored Project Management for Healthcare Professionals, CRC Press 2011.  Dave Shirley can be contacted at [email protected]