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What's the difference between green project management and sustainable project management?

In Sustainability Implementation | 3 comments

I have heard people use both terms, what is the difference between them?


  • Rahayu Setyawati
    By Rahayu Setyawati

    green project management is the project management in green field? if its so, then its totally different.
    Green project management is the project management that implement in the new location, or there is no similar project previously.

    sustainable project management is the project that emphasise the sustainability of the corporation, where the project is taken. project portfolio that choose, select and prioritise projects has to align to the company strategy. thats why the corporate strategy should emphasise the sustainability

  • Kaye Remington
    By Kaye Remington

    I really like the idea of 'green' project management. Perhaps there is some synergy with the idea also expressed elsewhere on this site in relation to change management 'needing gardeners rather than mechanics'. The word 'green' has associations with ideas of 'nurturing', 'growth' and 'ecology' which are all words that seem to fit with successful leadership of complex projects. The word 'sustainable' raises many more questions. What does the word 'sustainable' mean in relation to projects? Are we referring to the ecological impact of the project and its outcomes? Should all project outcomes be sustainable? What do we mean by sustainable? Should some projects to be designed to be ephemeral? Like Aboriginal sand art they might have meaning only for those present and only until nature does its job and removes all evidence of the work. Some projects have and should be designed to have short lives. Does built in redundancy qualify as sustainable with respect to some project outcomes? Are we really talking about the impact that our projects might have on the future of this planet? If so, how do we think about incorporating sustainability principles into our projects?

  • Jonathan Norman
    By Jonathan Norman

    Kaye raises a number of interesting points. I am particularly intrigued by the question about 'ephemeral' projects. There are certainly a number - perhaps even the majority of projects - that are designed to have a limited life. Later versions of products and services are often already in planning as a new version is launched; this is the case with software which is continually being updated.

    Seen in this context perhaps 'sustainability' is best expressed in terms of the sustainability of the programme of developments over a number of years. Let's take one example where sustainability has proved problematic; electronic payment systems and hole-in-the-wall cashpoints. The discipline of DevOps is now commonplace as a means of managing the introduction of new software within existing payment systems precisely because these systems are not very resilient in the face of continuing change.

    This does suggest a number of lessons for projects. We like projects because they are self-contained - they have a beginning, a middle and an end - but this is also one of their great weaknesses. If they are too timebound and don't consider what might follow then software (and other) projects can be a huge source of future risk; undermining an organization's ability to function with code or operating systems that are hard to integrate with other systems or simply become obsolete or unsupportable.

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