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Sunday, 12 October 2008 23:24

An approach to green project management – balancing Benefits Vs Cost

Written by  Kshitij Pandey
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How do we calculate our green quotient? Well, if we are talking about “Hardware” related things like fuel or paper it is easier to calculate. There are online calculators which lets you calculate an individuals primary and secondary foot print (


Their are various reports on the web which talks about making green buildings. For example there is a house in Spain which claims to have zero carbon footprints as depicted in The carbon foot print % for US states is available in Also there is an interesting chart listing all the countries and their carbon foot print per capita at ; For 2004 Qatar tops the chart and US is on number 10, India on number 133. If we were to collect data around carbon foot print per area or carbon foot print per economic development rate the story will be different. Here is a set of 50 examples which companies are implementing to go greener (,content=1335) While talking about greenPM , there is no such data available as of now. Let’s approach towards calculating carbon foot print in project management by looking into typical elements which goes  in for calculating loaded cost per hour as depicted in fig 2.  In this model “Include as green” means the corresponding elements are impacting the environment. So the lesser the green quotient the better. 
Typical loaded cost per hour calculation
Element Include as Green Weightage %
Desktop Y 10
Seat N 10
A/C Y 5
Telephone N 10
Printer Y 5
Infrastructure Y 15
Security N 5
Salary N 30
Admin Y 5
Overheads N 5
% of Green  Quotient 40

  Note that we are not actually calculating the carbon foot print for each activity done in the organization, we are only trying  to reach at a relative percentage indicator ; in other words which elements are more carbon in-efficient  for an organization and which are not ;and if they are how much they are. Before the start of your project agree on these weightages and elements. As per the sample in fig-2 40% of our hourly cost has a direct impact on the environment.
This “% of Green Quotient” can become the base for all calculations and interpretation. It would be impractical to think that we can make this Green Quotient zero. In fact the world around us is full of energy but not in the exact form which the human race needs, humans need to continuously innovate and discover ways to convert energy to its use and thus we can never have the green quotient as zero till the time anything and everything can run on technologies like solar energy.As today’s project management is heavily centered around metrics and quantitative management ,this model will serve more a getting  a % which will increase the awareness of going  green the greenPM way and aid calculations, comparisons and baselining.Let’s take some practical example 1.       Project charter: It can have a section/ directive on use of high carbon footprint resources like paper and recycling.2.       The project manager can first calculate the green quotient and then use it in quantitatively measuring the % gain or loss in case of an in-appropriate defect fix.So Green Quotient is not the final magic number for success, it only aids getting you their while considering sustainability. Their are some more case studies available at


Relating to CMMI

When we talk about green project management and about refining processes, CMMi is the most common standard followed for processes. Let’s see where greenPM can aid the effectiveness.There can be many school of thought with which we can relate the green quotient to CMMI levels and process areas, Lets discuss the most simplest of them.


The GreenPM way Green Computing
Initial Aware of Carbon Footprint concepts
Managed Green Computing
Defined Green Quotient model GreenPM
Quantitatively Managed Control Green Quotient within the organization
Optimizing Influence green Quotient with client organizations
 Initial:   No standard process and awareness campaigns in place for carbon footprint. GreenPM success in such organization is more in terms of personal efforts in projects and programs. Management support for GreenPM is minimal.  For maturing from this stage the organization should conduct awareness sessions. Generally Organizations can quickly mature from this stage. Managed:  At this level the organization is aware of green effects and is also cautiously taking efforts to reduce the hardware related effects as much as possible. Organizations can mature from this model in a considerably less time as all of the most common “hardware” green effects are know. Defined: Organization at this stage have the green quotient define for the various existing sub processes  . This is probably the most challenging stage as it is not easy to identify elements and assign weightages. As with any other project management tools like quality , gathering data for the green quotient will involve a careful analysis of “elements “ and making a trade off against the output value with input cost. Organization should remain at this level till a baseline is achieved. Quantitatively Managed: This means cautions attempts on process and tools within the organization to keep the green quotient in control.  This is related to efforts and process improvement within the organization; practically an organization exists for serving the needs of other organizations and society  on which it does not have total control. Hence the emphasis is on tuning the structure within and gathering  performance data for influencing the related/client organizations Optimizing:  At this stage the organization is GreenPM from within. It has enough related data to prove to the client organization on collectively controlling the green quotient. grenpm-fig-3-1.jpg


Core Processes of CMMi

Sample of maintaining the green quotient in the some of the CMMI core process areas is given below. Please not that not of the suggested will be applicable to the entire project at all stages. Participating stakeholders needs to pick on the one most relevant to the project.
  • Causal Analysis and Resolution (CAR)
    • Green Quotient of CAR effectiveness
  • Configuration Management (CM)
    • Keeping only the required documents
    • Rightly defining the retention medium and period
  • Decision Analysis and Resolution (DAR)
    • Weightage of environmental impact in the Pugh matrix
  • Integrated Project Management (IPM)
  • Measurement and Analysis (M&A)
    • Measure deviation from the baseline for green quotients across sub – processes
    • Include new matrices like  number of paper sheets used /project head count
  • Organizational Innovation and Deployment (OID)
    • Rethink of measures to improve the baseline
  • Organizational Process Definition (OPD)
    • Include elements related to greenPM
  • Organizational Process Focus (OPF)
    • Feeding of the green Quotient to central repository
  • Organizational Process Performance (OPP)
  • Organizational Training (OT)
    • Continuously propagate green
  • Project Monitoring and Control (PMC)
    • Power management
    • Storage
  • Project Planning (PP)
    • Minimize the predictable factors for green commuting
    • Include measurement of green quotient in all related project templates
    • Include energy efficiency sections in RFP
  • Process and Product Quality Assurance (PPQA)
  • Quantitative Project Management (QPM)
  • Requirements Management (REQM)
    • Measuring requirement volatility index against resources required to correct it at a later stage
  • Risk Management (RSKM)
    • Measurement of risk realization ration Against resources saved


The use of the terms green means energy saving. Now you may say the IT is the basic source of green for organizations as it computerizes the processes and reduces inefficiencies? Hang on there are still parts of IT where we can further trim down on energy may it be hardware or process. So trying for green is not the responsibility of a section of society, it is a requirement of today and for all.We saw how greenPM and green computing compliments project management strategy with an aim towards sustainability. We also saw as in initial stages it is more practical to know the green quotient as a portion of the total cost or energy and then later on fine tune the baseline as the organization matures. It is important that an organization first matures itself in green and then tries to influence the same outside the organization and this will truly make the world greener day by day. It is important to have clear communication with all stakeholders of the project that no matter if being cautions about green in a  decision you as an individual may have saved .000001% in the green quotient but remember  that 1000 such  professionals add up to make a big difference in a region. So the point is not how much you save as of today, it is more on the lines of intention to save and being aware about the consequences. Much research need to be done in this area to innovate ways to think green, this article is just one attempt towards it.Do not wait for the organization as a whole to take decisions; there is always some part of green which you can always play and say that I am cautions about “my part of green”Future research related to this topic could  include a)       How to relate GreenPM to Agile Methodologyb)       How to relate greenPM (the people part) to Emotional Quotientc)       What are the common set of metrics which can be developed specifically for greenPMd)       Case studies on financial management – Bidding contracts the Green Way.   


Her are some small but practical examples to stat implementing green, they are not stand alone example as they blend and compliment the project management practices1.        Implement dual side printing in your project2.       Have rewards for resources / projects using the least amount of paper3.       Explore the option for work from home for senior resource once a week of it does not impact the project4.       Reduce telephone calls use internet  based phones / chats / desktop sharing applications5.       Reduce travel ( not at the cost of client relationship or company culture) and use video conferencing6.       Plan the project to the level possible to reduce overtime, remember many a time it is more important to keep the client informed that you are missing the plan as against working over time to cover it up.7.       Use e-work flow as much as possible , example you can digitally sign your team’s time reports instead of signing on the paper8.       Carefully  determine the  documentation cost and also cost of retaining them9.       Keep data around common things around you – for example you can share the environmental impact of using disposable paper cups.10.    Carefully access and document risks, their can be nothing worse then a realized risk.11.    Encourage and reward  article submission and discussion on green12.    Use virtualization13.    Ask  team member  to switch off  their PCS on a Friday , may also shut down every evening instead on standby   

Read 13449 times Last modified on Thursday, 16 October 2008 05:53
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