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Integrating Sustainability In Managing IT

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The need for sustainable development is increasing with the passage of time. This is a very important concept that the society and organizations are incorporating in its various layers and fields. Most of the important projects integrate sustainable developments in its functionalities for the development and progress of the organization as well as the well being of the society. A project consists of several phases and each of them needs to be integrated with sustainability and decisions must be based on sustainability (Griggs et al. 2013). A business sector operates in a society and in order to get success they must take care of the society as well. The depletion of natural resources is a main concern for the society. While developing a project an organization considers all the aspects of technicality and appoints a manager who would particularly take care of the integration of sustainability in managing project.

This essay focuses on the sustainability integration while managing projects. This essay gives the main focus on the IT project management and IT sector. This is the most booming sector in the present era. It consumes and utilizes several resources for the completion of its projects. This essay points out on the requirement of integrating sustainability in IT project management (Dincer and Rosen 2012). It points out the project management approaches. The relevance of sustainability lies in the fact that the utilization of resources is leading to their depletion and it is affecting the community and environment in a harmful way. It gives a brief overview about the critical success factors and the criteria for an IT project. The corporate social responsibility plays a major role in implementing and planning for a project. This essay suggests that a proper balance in the economic growth with the society and environmental protection must be maintained for the betterment of people.


Brief Overview

Sustainability focuses on fulfilling the requirements and needs of the people who are in the present generation. Their main aim is to utilize the resources in such manner so that the people of the future generation will not have to suffer or compromise (Eskerod and Huemann 2013). Well planned and optimal utilization of the resources will not lead to the depletion of natural resources. There are several other definitions of sustainability as well like it can be considered to be a minute change or major reorientation in the strategies that are adopted by the global businesses.

The carbon percentage in the climate has decreased and it is also expected that the climate will change due to the over consumptions of resources by the IT industry. IT sector or businesses are said to be responsible for emitting around two per cent of carbon. IT projects can take several initiatives to integrate sustainability by the process of saving energy (SILvIuS and SChIPPER 2012). Computers can be functioned to shut down in an automatic manner, consolidation of data centre and energy efficient hardware deployment will be some of the effective steps that can be taken by IT projects to integrate sustainability. The hardware deployed in IT projects utilizes huge amount of energy. Another main point is that an IT project also needs huge storage space for the purpose of storing data and information. People get employed mostly in the IT sector. If the IT projects harm the society and do not take care of the natural resources then it will create a negative impact on the people of the future generation. Integration of economical factors, environmental factors and social factors will help in achieving sustainability in a project.

Energy saving methods is the main way of integrating sustainability in IT projects. One most important way that can be used by an IT project in order to save the storage space is by deploying cloud infrastructure that will enable the company to store data in the cloud by saving storage space as well as cost. Another method to save storage space is to use small storage devices that can hold huge quantity of data (Lang et al. 2012). This is the concept of Green IT. The high energy consumption traditional monitors can be replaced by LCD monitors. LCD monitors consumes energy in small amounts. Laptops can be used to save energy. The electronic devices used in IT sector and projects are made of metals that are depleting. Recycling can be done while planning and executing an IT project.

Success Criteria

In order to get success in an IT project several success criteria needs to be fulfilled. Efficient implementation must be carried out (Zou et al. 2014). IT projects must not only focus on the technical aspect but also focus on the social and economical aspects. IT projects must be developed by taking into account the environment in which it operates. Proper strategies must be taken in order to develop good quality project that will not harm the society or environment. High quality of project must be maintained. Initially the developers did not pay much attention to the quality of the project. But soon it became a major success criterion for IT projects. The project team must understand the value of the deliverables of the project. Socio economic factors must be given special attention.  The satisfaction level of the customers as well as stakeholders is taken into account while evaluating the success of the projects.

 The success criteria also depends on the impact of IT projects on the society as in the communities and environment (Ebbese and Hope 2013). The project must be developed in such a way so that the project will not consume much energy and natural resources. The environmental factors must be taken into account. If the project does not harm the environment then it is said to be a successful sustainable IT project. Resources must be utilized in such a manner so that the people of the future generation will not have to suffer. The focus should be on fulfilling the requirements of the present generation but at the same time keeping in mind the need of the future generation.  There are also economic success criteria where the implications of the IT projects on the economic condition of the nation, stakeholders, local and global system. If the financial conditions of the economy improve due to an IT project then it is said to be successful.


Critical Success Factors

There are several critical success factors of IT projects. The impact of the project on the society, economy and environment plays a significant role in the success of a sustainable IT project (De Medeiros, Ribeiro and Cortimiglia 2014).

Top management involvement and support plays a major role and it is the most critical factor of success. The top management must focus on the corporate social responsibility.

Communication is a critical or vital factor for achieving success. The sustainable requirements of the project can be determined clearly if there is effective means of communication.

Financial budget must be well planned and determined in advance. Proper budgeting will act as a critical success factor. Surveillance and monitoring must be carried out on a regular basis.

Human factors are the internal factors that are highly responsible for the success of a sustainable project.

Innovative thinking as well as strong policies is critical success factor. The IT project team must have a procedure for saving resources and integrating sustainability in the project. The impact on the society and environment determines how successful the project is.

Resource utilization is the most important critical success factor because optimal utilization does not harm the society and environment. There will be low energy consumption. Hence a sustainable project in the IT industry will get success.


Project Management Approach

Integration of sustainability in managing and developing IT projects can be achieved through the approaches of project management. The level of commitment must be high. The procurement method obtained must be ethical. The IT projects must adhere to the laws and policies for keeping the environment and society safe (Heising 2012). Ethical principles must be followed by the IT project team. The major steps that can be taken in the project management approach are:

Identifying possible impacts: This has to be done in the planning stage. When a project team is deciding to develop a project then in that case the team also needs to find out the negative impact that the project will have on the society, environment and economy.

Preventive measures: The organization needs to find out several measures so that sustainability is achieved. IT projects can use LCDs and cloud platforms for reserving energy.

Mitigation procedures:  If the society or environment is somehow harmed then the organization needs to have a plan for mitigating the loss that has occurred in the society, economy and the environment.

Proper methods of resource utilization must be implemented to overcome the problems of resource depletion. In order to integrate sustainability in the IT projects a proper balance needs to be maintained between the economic, environmental and social needs. Sustainability should focus on fulfilling the requirements of the people of the present generation as well as keeping in mind the needs of the people of future generation (Kerzner 2013). The future generation must not suffer due to lack of resources.

The project management approach can be holistic where there is an integration of the ecological, social and economical aspects. In the long term orientation approach sustainability takes into account the future needs. Good governance can be under the institutional approach (Hirschman 2014). The risk reduction approach focuses on minimizing risks. Sustainability can be considered to be the most important component that needs to be integrated in IT project for its success.



It can be concluded from this essay that the integrating sustainability in managing IT projects are very important. It pointed out the project management approaches. It gave a brief overview about the critical success factors and the criteria for an IT project. This essay suggested that a proper balance in the economic growth with the society and environmental protection must be maintained for the betterment of people. The corporate social responsibility plays a major role in implementing and planning for a project.



Barbier, E. ed., 2012. Economics and ecology: new frontiers and sustainable development. Springer Science & Business Media.

De Medeiros, J.F., Ribeiro, J.L.D. and Cortimiglia, M.N., 2014. Success factors for environmentally sustainable product innovation: a systematic literature review. Journal of Cleaner Production, 65, pp.76-86.

Dincer, I. and Rosen, M.A., 2012. Exergy: energy, environment and sustainable development. Newnes.

Ebbesen, J.B. and Hope, A., 2013. Re-imagining the iron triangle: embedding sustainability into project constraints. PM World Journal, 2(III).

Eskerod, P. and Huemann, M., 2013. Sustainable development and project stakeholder management: what standards say. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 6(1), pp.36-50.

Griggs, D., Stafford-Smith, M., Gaffney, O., Rockström, J., Öhman, M.C., Shyamsundar, P., Steffen, W., Glaser, G., Kanie, N. and Noble, I., 2013. Policy: Sustainable development goals for people and planet. Nature, 495(7441), pp.305-307.

Heising, W., 2012. The integration of ideation and project portfolio management—A key factor for sustainable success. International Journal of Project Management, 30(5), pp.582-595.

Hirschman, A.O., 2014. Development projects observed. Brookings Institution Press.

Kerzner, H., 2013. Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. John Wiley & Sons.

Lang, D.J., Wiek, A., Bergmann, M., Stauffacher, M., Martens, P., Moll, P., Swilling, M. and Thomas, C.J., 2012. Transdisciplinary research in sustainability science: practice, principles, and challenges. Sustainability science, 7(1), pp.25-43.

SILvIuS, G.I.L.B.E.R.T. and SChIPPER, R.O.N., 2012. Sustainability in project management. Gower Publishing, Ltd..

Zou, W., Kumaraswamy, M., Chung, J. and Wong, J., 2014. Identifying the critical success factors for relationship management in PPP projects. International Journal of Project Management, 32(2), pp.265-274.


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