PRiSM Project Management Methodology

With a rise in organizations that wish to embrace corporate social responsibility, the need to create a project management methodology that can successfully integrate sustainability with the profession of project management also arose, giving birth to ‘Projects integrating Sustainable Methods (PRiSM).’

Developed by the American company GPM (Green Project Management) in 2013, PRiSM aims to deliver higher value at the macro level by aligning
sustainable methods with organizational goals, ethics, and international standards. The last two of these are achieved by adopting practices that satisfy the ‘Ten principles of the UN Global Compact’ and the ISO International Standards.

The Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact

(Divided into the five following themes)

Human Rights

  • Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
  • Make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses


  • Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
  • The elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor;
  • The effective abolition of child labor; and
  • The elimination of discrimination with respect to employment and occupation.


  • Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
  • Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
  • Encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.


  • Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.The approach focuses on five key areas that act as a ‘sustainability checklist’ for project management professionals. Also known as the P5, these concepts of sustainability can be easily translated to practically applicable tools for projects and project management.
  • People – Social Aspect
  • Planet – Environmental Aspect
  • Profit – Financial Aspect
  • Process – Governance Aspect
  • Products – Technical Aspect

The P5 can be each assessed separately and as a complete package, offering project managers measurable elements that can be applied to each phase of their project life cycle.

What Are the Phases of PRiSM?

The PRiSM methodology is divided into four phases that begin before a project starts and are still in process after the project completes. By providing the means to correctly identify, define, control, and close the various operations and activities of the project, each phase of the PRiSM methodology allows for a seamless transition to the next.  Here is a quick rundown of the four phases to understand how that is achieved.

1. Pre Project/Initiation Phase 
This phase allows your team to formulate ideas and review whether a project is feasible or not by measuring the impact of your project against the P5. The key deliverable of this phase is the ‘Business Case’ that covers the value of the sustainability elements.

2. Planning Phase 
In the planning phase, the project manager focuses on what the client or the organization wants to achieve and plots the best way to deliver the project. With the involvement of all the team members and subject experts, a plan that addresses the scope and the parameters of acceptance of the project is created.

3. Executing and Controlling Phase
The executing processes of this phase perform and support the planned activities from the last. On the other hand, the controlling process monitors, measures, and controls project performance against the planned performance. It allows you to take corrective actions and make changes to achieve the intended objectives.

4. Closure Phase and Reviews 
In this phase, the project and all the products are delivered, and the implementation is complete. Even though project reviews take place throughout the project life cycle, additional reviews post the completion are also carried out to ensure that the benefits of the project were realized and to capture lessons learned that the organization can apply to future projects.

What Are the Principles of the PRiSM Methodology?

The PRiSM methodology’s success lies in its interconnectivity within different departments in the organization. To ensure that all levels of your company can adopt it without difficulty, it is essential to understand the principles on which the method stands before implementing them throughout your organization.

1. Commitment and Accountability 
Recognize the right to a safe, healthy, and clean environment, along with fair pay, ethical procurement, and respect for the rule of law.

2. Ethics and Decision-Making Power 
Let the identification, mitigation, and the prevention of short-term and long-term harmful deterrents on the society and the environment support organizational ethics and decision-making.

3. Integration and Transparency 
Foster the interdependence between social integrity, environmental impact, and economic development in all monitoring, management, and practice.

4. Development of Resources 
Maintain and enhance the natural resource base by improving how technology and resources are developed and used.

5. Social and Ecological Equity 
Assess human vulnerability through demographic dynamics in ecologically sensitive areas and population centers.

6. Economic Prosperity
Establish fiscal targets and strategies that balance the needs of the stakeholders, both present and future.

Should You Use PRiSM?

With growing recognition of the benefits of and need for socially responsible behavior among organizations and their stakeholders, companies that get on the sustainability wagon are bound to enjoy the perks that follow judicious choices today. An organization’s Social Responsibility performance can influence their relationship with their customers, suppliers, employees, media, and even governments they are associated with.

A project management solution that can successfully take advantage of these opportunities to build their business value, along with the promise of efficient business operations, is just what today’s organizations need. However, if you’re looking to adopt the PRiSM methodology to a project where the environmental impact is not a concern, it may not be the most suitable alternative.

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