The Value of Socially Relevant Projects

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Discussion: The Value of Socially Relevant Projects

Organizations are under pressure from stakeholders to integrate sustainability principles into their business strategies as a way to demonstrate responsible business practices. While many organizations have already done this and many more are moving in this direction, the challenges associated with quantifying the value of socially relevant projects to investors remains an obstacle. This is because many of the benefits of projects that address a social need or issue—and those that include sustainability practices—are intangible and not realized in pure economic terms. 

According to the PMBOK (PMBOK® Guide) a business case is “a documented economic feasibility study…” (PMI, 2017, p. 29). This is a more traditional definition of a business case that reflects the value of a project that will realize mostly tangible benefits. With greater numbers of organizations adopting sustainability principles, the definition of a business case should be expanded to account for the value associated with intangible benefits.

For this Discussion, address these items:    

  • 1-What is the difference between a tangible and an intangible project benefit? Provide one to two examples of each.
  • 2-Describe at least two metrics that are commonly used to assign value to tangible benefits.
  • 3-How can organizations assign value to the intangible benefits of socially relevant projects?
  • 4-What components should be added to a business case to demonstrate the value of the intangible benefits of socially relevant projects? 

Required Reading:

Project Management Institute. (2017). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). Sixth edition. Newtown Square, PA: Author.

  • - Chapter 1, “Introduction”
    • Section 1.2.6, “Project Management Business Documents” (pp. 29–35)

This section of the PMBOK (PMBOK® Guide) describes the purpose of multiple business documents, why they are important, and how they are used to ensure alignment of projects to business objectives throughout the project life cycle.


-  Kreiss, C., Nasr, N., & Kashmanian, R. (2016). Making the business case for sustainability: How to account for intangible benefits—a case study approach. Environmental Quality Management, 26(1), 5–24.

Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

In this article, the authors discuss the challenges associated with accounting for intangible benefits as organizations move to integrate sustainability into their business practices.


- https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/project-initiation-sustainability-principles-10702


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