How to report the Performance of Sustainable Projects?

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 (

Sustain 1Delivering sustainable projects require those organizations, in addition to the senior management commitment and support, to adopt policies and procedures that are aligned with the best practices of project management as well as the emerging best practices of sustainability to avoid ending with a Green Elephant project ( Through those policies and procedures, project owners can determine the document templates, governance workflows, logs and reports, and performance dashboards that need to be used to ensure having a successful collaboration environment to select the right sustainable projects and deliver those projects right from the first time.

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).

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This article will primarily focus on how to report the project’s sustainability performance against the three measurable elements to sustainability: Social aspect (People), Environmental aspect (Planet) and Economical aspect (Profit). This requires defining the document templates that will be used to assess and score each one of three measurable elements to sustainability. Each one of those document templates will include the areas that need to be assessed as listed in the above chart. For each area, the assessment could have a score that could range from -3 (high positive compliance) to +3 (high negative compliance). That is to say, the lower 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. The table below shows an example of a sustainability assessment for Employment and Local Procurement elements.

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It is quite possible that the assessment for each sustainability category will be carried by a different team member and that is why it is highly recommended to have a different document template for each category. That is separate ones for Planet, People and Profit. In addition, the assessor needs to attach the different project documents to support his/her assessment. This could include the Sustainability Management Plan, surveys among others. When the assessment is completed, the document template will be submitted for formal review and approval as per set the pre-agreed governance rules.

The chart below details how PMWeb Project Management Information System (PMIS) is used to automate and formalize the sustainability assessment process which follows the same approach to be used in managing other project management processes. Using PMWeb PMIS will ensure that the organization has an integrated single-platform to manage, monitor and control their complete portfolio of projects that covers all aspects of project management and sustainability best practices.

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The data captured from the different sustainability document templates will provide the project manager, project team members and other stakeholders with a real-time status of the project’s performance as it relates to achieve the desired sustainability goals. The P5 Impact Worksheet is a report that will be produced for each sustainability category based on the data captured in the relevant document template. This same data will be used to produce the project overall sustainability dashboard. The PMWeb dashboard allows drilling down from the Project Sustainability Dashboard to the P5 Impact Worksheet all the way to the document template used in capturing the sustainability scoring.

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Since the data captured from the sustainability document templates as well as other project management document templates are stored in the same PMWeb database, the project manager, project team members and other stakeholders will be able to report and visualize a single version of the truth of project’s performance. This transparency and real-time access to vital project information will provide those project managers, project team members and other stakeholders with the insight to make better and faster informed decisions.

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Project management information systems like PMWeb provides project owners with a web-enabled integrated single-platform to manage, monitor and control their sustainable projects delivery. The PMIS will capture the BIG DATA from the project management and sustainability best practices to provide real-time information on the status of all project transactions, records and documents. This in turn will provide the needed knowledge on the project’s performance and health status to provide project executives with the insight to make better and faster informed project-related decisions.


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