Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Understanding the Project Environment

Virtually all projects are planned and implemented in a social, economic, and environmental context, and have intended and unintended positive and/or negative impacts. The project team should consider the project in its cultural, social, international, political, and physical environmental contexts.
  • Cultural and social environment. The team needs to understand how the project affects people and how people affect the project. This may require an understanding of aspects of the economic, demographic, educational, ethical, ethnic, religious, and other characteristics of the people whom the project affects or who may have an interest in the project. The project manager should also examine the organizational culture and determine whether project management is recognized as a valid role with accountability and authority for managing the project.
  • International and political environment. Some team members may need to be familiar with applicable international, national, regional, and local laws and customs, as well as the political climate that could affect the project. Other international factors to consider are time-zone differences, national and regional holidays, travel requirements for face-to-face meetings, and the logistics of teleconferencing.
  • Physical environment. If the project will affect its physical surroundings, some team members should be knowledgeable about the local ecology and physical geography that could affect the project or be affected by the project.

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