Thursday, September 22, 2011

Green PM seminars off to great start!

Our Green Project Management Seminar Series has gotten off to a great start! The series, co-sponsored by PMI SF Bay Area and Keller Graduate School, features 3-hour interactive seminars presenting case studies and discussions of fascinating projects involving sustainability.

First three seminars

We kicked off the series in July, with a seminar that explored Walmart’s journey from corporate social responsibility pariah to a uniquely influential player in the green economy. Bay Area sustainability strategist Mikhail Davis discussed Walmart’s commitment to sustainability, from his vantage point of having been one of the consultants who helped them in that effort. He provided fascinating insights into how going green has not only energized Walmart and encouraged innovation, but has also had far-reaching effects throughout their extensive supply chain -- making the world’s largest retailer the most important company in green business.

At our August seminar, project manager Pete Marsh recounted the challenges of managing a $1.6M project to build a telecommunications site in a state park on a remote island. One of the primary deliverables was an off-grid PV hybrid electrical system. The complexities included dual customers, myriad stakeholders, challenging logistics (how many projects have to clear goats from a grass strip runway?!), a complex environmental assessment, and a distributed project team. After his in-depth retrospective of this complex project, we held hands-on breakouts focused on areas such as stakeholder engagement and risk analysis, to crowdsource better outcomes.

As we saw in the seminar on Walmart, even the most unlikely businesses have been embracing sustainability. What does this effort look like at a modern software company? In September, Lakshmi (Meera) Ramanathan, Global Sustainability Manager, explored the challenges and opportunities encountered on the road to sustainability at Adobe Systems. She went beyond detailing the company’s long list of sustainability initiatives to delve into how projects came to light, the project methodology and process used to realize them, and the behavioral changes required to make them work. And she showed how the perspectives of both employees and management changed as they found that sustainability is not only practical and sensible but can also be a lot of fun.

Seminar 4: A Game-Changing Energy Solution: The Laser Inertial Fusion Energy Project – 15 Oct 2011

At our October seminar, John Post of the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (which won PMI’s 2010 Project of the Year award) will discuss the fascinating Laser Inertial Fusion Energy (LIFE) project. LIFE continues the advances made by NIF, addressing the challenges of meeting our society’s demand for safe, secure, environmentally sustainable energy, and proposes a game-changing solution: fusion energy. Though recognized for decades as a solution with great potential, fusion has long been considered too immature to implement. That’s changing now, and we may be on the brink of an exciting new chapter in energy generation. As a long-standing PMI-SFBAC member, John Post will not only describe this massive project but will also involve the audience in crowdsourcing solutions to some of the vexing challenges they foresee. To be a part of this groundbreaking development, register here.


Keller Graduate School Sustainable Management MBA Program co-sponsors these events.

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