The fashion world may seem like an unlikely place for an IT project manager to look for inspiration about environmental awareness, but it's a good example of an industry that was traditionally reluctant to make the appropriate changes. For instance, the use of organic cotton was viewed as a fad, and the majority of manufacturers argued that it wasn't economical to produce goods close to home because of the higher labour costs and (ironically) the higher quality of the product, which would make it too expensive for the consumer. By taking small, gradual steps, the fashion industry is heading in the right direction.
Sometimes reaching a challenging goal can seem impossible when viewed as one huge leap, but project managers know that work has to be broken down into a series of smaller steps to achieve success. So if you think your organisation or the IT industry will never take environmental issues seriously, you could be wrong, and remember that it only takes one person to start building eco-awareness into their projects to initiate change.
Build eco-awareness into your project planEco-awareness in IT projects is not just about recycling paperwork, using web-based collaboration tools to minimise paperwork, or video conferencing rather than getting on a plane for a meeting in another part of the world, it's also about embedding eco-friendliness into project processes and promoting sustainability in these processes.
At the start of your IT projects, you should make a commitment to be eco-friendly at all stages and make environmental awareness a success criterion. Eco-friendly production methods have the potential to save costs by using more fuel-efficient equipment.
In addition, you should build re-use into your project plan, so you can get more out of the product as well as the equipment used in creating it. If you cannot re-use an item within your organisation, you should ensure it's recycled or donated to a worthy cause instead of being dumped.
Also read on TechRepublic: Consider green project management for your projects and 10 tips for implementing green IT
Tell us what you think
How important is it for an IT project manager to have an eco-conscious? Do you think incorporating eco-friendly practices into your IT work could benefit your business, your career, or yourself? Weigh in on this topic in the discussion.
Michelle Symonds has many years of experience in IT and IT Project Management in the oil industry and investment banking, working on complex global projects and managing overseas project teams. She is now a freelance consultant working with a Project Management Training company and is also editor of the Project Accelerator News website.