Digital Transformation for The Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO) – Project Sustainability Management

Today and more than ever, there is a growing trend among project owners to deliver projects that are sustainable. Projects that are not only delivering the project scope with the desired quality, within budget and on the needed delivery date but will also help in achieving the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity by the year 2030.

About the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

On September 25th 2015, the United Nations set forward 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity to achieve by the year 2030. Commonly known as the Agenda 2030, the targets invite stakeholders from the government, public and private sector to push forward in achieving those goals which include:

Goal 1          End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Goal 2          End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Goal 3          Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Goal 4          Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Goal 5          Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Goal 6          Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Goal 7          Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Goal 8          Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Goal 9          Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Goal 10        Reduce inequality within and among countries

Goal 11        Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Goal 12        Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Goal 13        Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Goal 14        Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Goal 15        Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Goal 16        Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Goal 17        Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Sustainable Project Management

Delivering sustainable projects require the EPMO, in addition to senior management commitment and support, to adopt the emerging best practices of sustainability when it comes to delivering projects. Similar to other project management knowledge areas, the EPMO needs to develop the document templates, governance workflows, logs and reports, and performance dashboards that need to be used to ensure having a successful sustainable projects delivery.

Managing sustainable projects requires managing the areas of environment, society and economy in addition to the common project management areas of schedule, cost, quality, safety, risk, procurement, human resources, communications, stakeholders among others. The P5™ Standard for Sustainability in Project Management (PRiSM) by GPM Global addresses those additional areas to be managed and details how to monitor and control the three additional measurable elements to sustainability; Social aspect (People), Environmental aspect (Planet) and Economical aspect (Profit).

Capturing Project’s Sustainability Compliance

The EPMO needs to create the document template that will be used to assess and score each one of three measurable elements to sustainability: Social aspect (People), Environmental aspect (Planet) and Economical aspect (Profit).

The document template which will be created using PMWeb PMIS custom form builder will include the areas that need to be assessed in accordance with the relevant sustainability measure. For each measure, the assessment could have a score that could range from 5 (high positive compliance) to 1 (high negative compliance). That is to say, the higher the score is, the better the project is complying with the sustainability objective being assessed. This assessment will be conducted on predetermined periodical periods to measure how good the project is complying with those objectives.

It should be noted that the 5-point scoring was selected to make it compatible with other performance scoring used by the EPMO. Organizations might opt for 10-points scoring as well as what is known as the golf handicap scoring, which will have a range of +3 to -3, where +3 indicates high negative compliance and -3 high positive compliance. In other words, if the lower the value the achieved score, the better is the compliance.

Calculating the Project Sustainability Score

The EPMO needs to coordinate with the organization on the weight for each of the three perspectives of sustainability being environmental, social and economical. For example, it could be 30% for economical and environmental and the balance 40% for social. In addition, under each perspective, each measure will also have a weight fir which again the total weight of all measures within a sustainability perspective should equal 100%. This will enable doing the calculation to get the weighted score value for each measure which will be displayed in the dashboard.

Sustainability Development Goals (SDG) Performance Dashboard

The data captured from the sustainability document template will provide the organization, EPMPO, project manager and other stakeholders with a real-time status of the project’s performance as it relates to achieve the desired sustainability goals. The dashboard displayed below provides the overall sustainability development goal (SDC) compliance score as well as the score for each sustainability perspective. The scorecard provides the achieved sustainability compliance score for each measure at the end of each quarter or any other desired period. The same comparison could be have been across projects that are being managed by the EPMO.