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Road to Chartered series 9

Joining the dance? Creating an inclusive profession

As we grow as a professional body, it is important that we take on the characteristics and attributes of the best professional bodies and professions. Promoting and developing diversity and inclusion in project management – both in terms of culture and practice – is central to achieving this objective.

This paper [Joining the dance? Creating an inclusive profession], the ninth in the series, aims to develop thinking on diversity and inclusion issues in an innovative way, looking beyond current approaches through monitoring and reporting, and ask larger questions about how to address the objectives of a Royal Charter.

The challenge for all of us is how to get the project management profession to leverage diversity and inclusion to improve the impact that projects, programmes and portfolios can make on the economy and society as a whole.

Adopting a holistic approach, and building on previous debate, this paper explores future options for D&I, professionalism and the practice of project management. The broader perspective of D&I touches on three related elements:

  • an underlying approach that could underpin the profession’s new wider perspective of D&I;
  • a reassessment of project management practice when defined in terms of the Charter being ‘for the public benefit’; and
  • observations on possible new directions, after briefly reviewing current APM initiatives and varied examples from other organisations and sectors.

This should challenge current mindsets, behaviours and the practices of individual members and the profession at large; that resonates with APM’s new chartered status, and its ambitions to advance the ‘practice of project and programme management for the public benefit’ and for its membership and the wider profession to reflect the diversity of society.

As paper author Teri Okoro argues:

“A values-driven approach to programme or project design and execution in the profession refers to one that is underpinned by ethics, concern for moral implications and (corporate) social responsibility – all recognised professional values. This is a significantly more inclusive perspective on process and outcome, targeting the triple bottom line: people and environment, in addition to profits. It requires an enhanced and more balanced consideration of all three elements as drivers in decision-making”.

This paper sets out some important questions as the chartered journey continues. What different lenses or approaches can be applied to the D&I discourse in project management to enable it to contribute effectively to the greater good and wider society? Is reliance on anecdotes or verifiable data providing a reliable picture of our true baseline in order to inform inclusion initiatives and programmes, assisting to bridge gaps, minimise barriers and make progress to fully harness diverse talent? What elements of workplace and project management practice should be altered? Should change be voluntary, set in guidance, benchmarked and progressive?

As Ranjit Sidhu, APM board champion for diversity, sets out in the paper’s foreword:

“This paper aims to develop thinking on diversity and inclusion issuers in an innovative way. beyond current approaches through monitoring and reporting, and ask larger questions about how to address the objectives of a Royal Charter. The challenge for us all is how to get the project management profession to leverage diversity and inclusion to improve the impact that projects, programmes and portfolios can make on the economy and society as a whole”

 

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