Environmental Factors & Social responsibility

March 12, 2010

There are a lot of factors around the project in a larger context. The so called environmental factors are very important and need to be taken into consideration for every action plan being made. Overlooking any one could increase the risks associated with the project manifold. The other aspect that is sort of related are the ways in which your project might affect the larger eco-system; the area, region, country that you are operating in and the populace in the vicinity.

Enterprise Environmental Factors

These cover a whole range of issues. These factors could be about regulations, industry standards, established market standards that you are competing against, product liability issues, safety, environmental and a whole host of other issues. Missing any one of these and taking appropriate actions to incorporate the requirements pose real threats to your project. They not only result in costly reworks, if realised later in the project lifecycle, but expose the organization to legal liabilities and threat of being sued by customers. These factors also include internal standards like organizations quality standards, rework processes and even process standards. Not only these need to be taken into consideration in every planning processes but one should always be watching out for changes happening to these factors. Factors such as market conditions need truly close watch as the changes happening may mean a huge opportunity or crippling threat!

It is the project manager’s professional responsibility that whenever such factors are to be taken into consideration in any of the applicable processes, these factors are indeed taken into account. This needs to be done fanatically as consequences of any slip could be disastrous. Quite often the regulations are difficult to read and understand, but the manager would need to spend the time necessary to get a control over what’s needed. In case of industry standards it could mean the difference between compliance and non-compliance that leads to inability to display the compatibility logo. All your competitors could be doing that and that would mean a direct revenue loss situation. Not meeting safety and compliance standards like the CE certification of the FCC compliance can mean shutting of large segments of the market for your product. Trying to obtain these certifications as after the fact, after the product is ready could lead to very costly rework and a large additional expense beyond the planned budget. Such factors apply not only to hard product related issues, but also may be some labour laws that were not taken into account. Prohibited discriminations, even when applied because of ignorance can lead to trouble easily. Not creating suitable accessibility, not publicising the salary of the H1B visa hire or even paying him below average salary could lead to9 government action. Other business compliance issues like the SOX or email archival are problematic too and need to be taken care of.

As a part of the social responsibility the project being executed should not create any environmental hazards. That is understandable easily. However it would need detailed knowledge on the project manager’s part to ensure that none of the technology or processes used has any effect on the vicinity or the people living around the project area. Chernobyl disaster may be an extreme example, but spreading toxic material around and damaging the environment could happen easily, even in a unintended way. It is the responsibility of the project manger to guard against that all the time. It is possible that the country where the project is getting executed does not have strict enough regulation. However, the project team is aware of the harmful nature of some of their actions. Even in such situation, a moral and ethical project manager needs to carry out the same protections as he would in his own country and not attempt to save expenses by skipping such processes.

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2 Responses to Environmental Factors & Social responsibility

  1. Mikel Scelsi on May 18, 2010 at 9:29 am

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    • Puneet Kuthiala, PMP on May 26, 2010 at 1:06 pm

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