Just attended Weftec (worlds largest Wastewater Conference, over 20,000 people).

Is amazing when you discuss project solutions and ask for diverse perspectives from multiple areas of expertise.

When I discussed wastewater (sewage) projects, the majority of the time people that worked the booths (vendors) raced to the technical side of things.  They would ask what do the regulators require, and that their solution will meet or better those parameters of treatment.

I am an Agrologist with a huge passion about water.  I look at it very differently; asking what can we do with the clean water after it is treated, identify concepts/options, then work backwards from that to a category of treatment, then continue to go from there (e.g. MBR, SBR, MMBR).

The regulatory guidelines must be met, however, they should not drive the project objectives. They can be seen more as deliverables.

The End-Users (people that pay and receive the value) generally want an integrated solution - water is complicated so solutions must be understood at all stages of planning.

Often regulations, permits and the technology recommended is based on traditional, legacy ways of doing things - this gives us comfort.  People that bring new perspectives are seen as dangerous, or naive.

However, the legacy approach (recommend what has been done 100 times before) is not meeting standards of "up and coming communities" that are growing and also have educated, active, involved, progressive Mayors, Councilors and Citizens.

Often when talking with the end-users (town officials looking for solutions) they wanted to discuss the entire treatment cycle with a focus on the water.  They did not have a focus on regulations since many thought that Canada is lagging in that area when compared to rest of the world.

I was quite surprised at this, our culture can change quickly so be adaptable on how you manage your project planning.

Once again, if you were designing a sewage plant, imagine how different the approach becomes and who is involved in the planning if you looked at these two perspectives:
A) - mechanical design of the sewage technology that meets existing government regulations (Mechanical/technical perspective)
B) - solution design starting with understanding what can you do with the clean water once it is treated, then work backwards from there, involve the right people first, then get to the details second (Agrologist/water/soil/holistic perspective)

On your project, don't be afraid to involve people that are not normally involved in your project planning.

Work backwards and identify if their expertise can play a major role to give you new perspectives, then involve them more and focus on objectives before the deliverables.

Come up with solutions that help the end-user, not just systems that are driven by regulation. Diverse opinions drive innovation, both mechanical and Agrologist perspectives are needed but be patient and get feedback from each, and ensure you know when to involve them within the project planning lifecyle and steer the feedback in accordance with the objectives.