Improving Project Sustainability

Paul Naybour

Sustainability should be a major goal for every project manager. Here are some simple ways to help you improve your project sustainability.

Companies that cannot adjust over time run the risk of failing to thrive. For this reason, sustainability should be a major goal for every project manager. Although different people will define sustainability in several different ways, one commonly accepted meaning is the ability to keep something working over a long period of time. Accepting this definition, sustainability is critical to enterprises of all sizes and areas. Simply put – if you cannot continue to perform or complete processes, your ability to meet demand and remain competitive drops.

It is important for PMs to continually develop their professional skills and knowledge so that you can ensure your processes will always be successful and up to date.

The following tips can help you support sustainability in your company:


Establish Clear Protocols Every Time

Clear protocols support sustainability in three ways. First, they help eliminate confusion. There’s no doubt as to what to do next, so operations remain progressive. Secondly, they can reduce conflict, as you’ve already made the decisions about how and when things need to be done, agreed to take action and decide who needs to get involved. Fewer conflicts usually mean better morale and retention rates within the project. Lastly, written protocols make it easy for another person to step in and take over responsibilities, whether the need for replacement is due to an illness, holidays, a reduction in workload or being away from the office for business reasons. Establishing a clear project framework can help facilitate this planning stage.



Networking is critical to business sustainability because it develops a safety net you can use in times of trouble. For instance; if one of your best team members quits, people within your network might be able to pass on the word that you’re looking to hire, letting you fill the team member’s position faster. Your network also can help you outsource efficiently, complete transactions, offer general advice and support, give feedback and promote your brand. Remember networking within the company you work for is just as important as networking outside it.


Be Your Peoples Champion

Whether it’s getting them involved in feedback, offering training, saying a simple thank you or treating them to lunch – showing your team you’ve got their back and believe in them goes an incredibly long way in terms of keeping morale high. It also pumps up creativity and productivity, providing plenty of opportunities for management and leadership development. When your team is happy, they have the chance to really grow as professionals within their field of expertise. Plus, if they are happy they aren’t as likely to jump ship, which is never a bad thing. With a more stable work force, you’ll have better predictability, smoother operations and reduced staff costs overall.


Use Forward Projections

All too often, companies fizzle out because they don’t research the market well – they simply don’t have the information they need to make the decisions that will allow them to adapt appropriately. Even if you have plenty of useful data about the current industry you’re in, you have to look not just at what the market is doing now, but where it might be a month, a year or even a decade from now. Without thinking ahead, it’s impossible to make any long-term plans.


Sustainability in within business means that your business is able to remain stable over time. It is and always should be an essential project management goal, because you are always ultimately supporting your company and its values, no matter what the project is.

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