Research Paper: Project Management and the Federal

Pages: 9 (2403 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Management  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] The argument presented in the UN report that sustainable growth can actually be implemented through cost-effective means is another indictment of the administration's project management aptitude. When the unfortunate course of America's newly launched sustainability project is analyzed from the perspective of project cost management, it becomes readily apparent that a significant portion of the government's project management team likely consisted of individuals with a background in information technology. It is widely known among the project management community that "many information technology professionals often react casually to cost overrun information (because) they know that many of the original cost estimates for information technology projects are low to begin with or based on very unclear project requirements" (Schwalbe, 2011). The fact that so many of the federal government's appointed enterprises experienced unexpectedly drastic cost overruns, while project managers failed to respond or react with sufficient urgency to prevent bankruptcies and other failures, points to an institutionalized disregard for this aspect of the project management process.

One aspect of the American system of property law that many experts have proposed as a viable method for standardizing environmentally conscious development is the array of zoning codes governing how land can be utilized. The American Planning Association released a report in 2008 entitled Saving the World Through Zoning, which was authored by land-use attorney Chris Duerksen and a team of researchers working in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute. The research contained within Duerksen's report focuses on the author's conception of the Sustainable Community Development Code, which calls on local legislators to "make sure development codes directly address sustainability issues like energy conservation and production -- for example, by removing impediments to compact residential wind turbines or requiring subdivisions to be laid out to take advantage of solar power" (2008). According to Duerksen's study of successfully implemented sustainable building programs, the ability to make effectual adjustments to the intricate network of local zoning codes represents for "local elected officials the most powerful and effective tool to shape and protect their community" (2008). This revelation is especially relevant to the concept of project procurement management, because the administration's efforts to foster sustainable building practices as a viable domestic agenda were consistently impeded by an inability to procure tracts of land for solar, wind, and other related sustainable energy infrastructure. While Duerksen and his colleagues at the American Planning Association are understandably doubtful of the federal bureaucracy's willingness to make systemic moves towards sustainable growth, they remain optimistic regarding the response of municipal management structures. As Duerksen states unequivocally, "while the federal government seems to be in denial, mayors and local governments are leading the way in implementing sustainable policies and plans" (2008), and this encouraging development signals an increased willingness on the part of small towns and cities to guide their growth along the path to sustainability. Had the administration's collection of project managers identified local and municipal zoning codes as a viable procurement method through which sustainable energy projects could be encouraged to thrive, the failure rate experienced by enterprises which received governmental investment would have been significantly reduced.

When the totality of the President's proposed sustainable energy program, and its associated initiatives which have been launched to varying degrees across America, are considered from a project management perspective, it becomes clear that a series of project management failures ultimately undermined the program's ability to succeed. First, the project was hastily devised and not properly planned, a mistake which provoked a chain reaction of further shortcomings. Second, a concerted effort towards risk management was never seriously engaged in, leading to embarrassing calamities such as the Solyndra debacle. With an impaired ability to recognize risk factors and react accordingly, the administration repeatedly identified flawed companies as candidates for targeted investment, a tendency which would not be permitted to occur under an experienced project manager's stewardship. Lastly, those in charge of directing the federal government's strategic support of sustainable energy enterprises consistently failed to procure support from their ostensible allies in municipal and state government roles. Without the guiding principles of modern project management to protect it from inherent risks, cost overruns, and other dilemmas posed by complex projects, the administration's well-intentioned efforts to promote sustainable building and energy production proved to be fundamentally flawed.

References

Campbell, S. (1996). Green cities, growing cities, just cities? Urban planning and the contradictions of sustainable development. Journal of the American Planning Association, 62(3), 296-312. Retrieved from http://www.cnr.uidaho.edu/css386/Readings/Campbell_Greencities.pdf

Duerksen, C. (2008). Saving the world through zoning. Planning: the Magazine of the American Planning Association, Retrieved from http://www.law.du.edu/documents/rmlui/saving- the-world-through-zoning.pdf

Ingram, G.K., Carbonell, A., Hong, Y.H., & Flint, A. (2009). Smart growth policies: An evaluation of programs and outcomes. Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Retrieved from http://www.lincolninst.edu/pubs/smart-growth-policies.aspx

Schwalbe, K. (2011). Information technology project management. (6th ed.). Boston: Course Technology Ptr.

Tibaijuka, A.K. United Nations Human Settlement Program, (2009). Planning sustainable cities: Global report on human settlements 2009. Retrieved from: http://www.unhabitat.org/downloads/docs/GRHS2009Abridged.pdf

Waddell, P. (2002). Modeling urban development for land use, transportation and environmental planning. Journal of the American Planning Association, 68(3), 297-314. Retrieved from http://lab.geog.ntu.edu.tw/lab/errml/? / 03021?

.pdf

Williams, M. (2008). The principles of project management. (1st ed.). Collingwood, Victoria, Australia: SitePoint Pty. Ltd.

Woody, T. (2012, October 12). Solyndra files $1.5 billion antitrust suit against china solar companies. Forbes, Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/toddwoody/2012/10/12/solyndra-files-1-5-billion-antitrust- suit-against-china-solar-companies/ [END OF PREVIEW]

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