Project Management Institute

A Wide Net

The Right Techniques Can Expand Inclusion across Your Organization

img

ISTOCKPHOTO

By Colleen G. White, PMP

Inclusion is a never-ending process, not a project with a defined start and stop date. However, projects can be used to help organizations make progress in their journey toward inclusion, and project managers can play an important role in this process.

When my employer, OhioHealth, added inclusion to its core set of values in 2018, I recognized an opportunity for the information services project management office (PMO) to embrace this change. I launched a project to identify concrete actions the entire PMO could take to foster a work environment that seeks diverse perspectives and respects everyone's uniqueness. I broke the project into three steps.

STEP 1: BRAINSTORMING AND AFFINITY DIAGRAMMING

We used affinity diagramming to help ensure ideas and actions were driven from the bottom up. This diagram allows a team to generate a large number of ideas and organize natural groupings to develop solutions. We answered the question, “What can we do to provide an even more inclusive environment that will allow our PMO and project teams to thrive?”

We broke into small groups and each had 10 minutes to brainstorm actionable answers to the question, record ideas on sticky notes and post them on a wall. Each small group then spent 15 minutes “affinitizing,” or organizing the brain-stormed ideas into similar clusters. Finally, groups were asked to provide a heading for each set of affinitized ideas.

STEP 2: PRIORITIZING THE IDEA CLUSTERS

Before our next session, I put all the ideas and headings into a spreadsheet. Then, in a quick, half-hour meeting, the same groups reconvened, reviewed their prior ideas and selected their top two headings and top two actions under those headings. Each team shared its priorities and actions with the rest of the group.

STEP 3: SETTING DEPARTMENT PRIORITIES

Before the final meeting, I collated the top headings from each group and the actions under those headings. The entire PMO then reviewed the collective ideas. We agreed on the top three priorities for the PMO and the actions required:

1. Support each other and new ideas

∎ Be respectful

∎ Encourage new ideas

2. Strengthen the team's culture

∎ Get to know your team members

∎ Encourage collaboration

3. Leverage humble inquiry

∎ Teach humble inquiry to the team

∎ Practice it

The PMO director then printed these priorities onto pocket-sized cards for each team member to display in their work area.

This project opened the door to dialogue among members of the PMO about diversity and how we all play a part every day in fostering an inclusive work environment. PM

img Colleen G. White, PMP, is a program manager, enterprise project management office, Ohio-Health, Columbus, Ohio, USA.

Share Your Thoughts

No one knows project management better than you, the project professionals “Getting It Done.” So every month, PM Network shares your expertise on everything from sustainability to talent management, and all project topics in between. If you're interested in contributing, email [email protected].

This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Related Content

  • Why Great Ideas Fail and How to Make Sure They Don't

    By Vargas, Ricardo Viana | Conforto, Edivandro Carlos | Oumarou, Tahirou Assane To reduce failure rates and successfully deliver strategies in 2020 and beyond, organizations must overcome disruptive forces and flip posing challenges to opportunities and advantages. It all…

  • PM Network

    Vital Signs

    Transforming horizon-focused strategic visions into here-and-now reality can't happen in a vacuum. Instead, project leaders must cultivate a deep understanding of the business, technological,…

  • PM Network

    Sinais vitais

    Transformar visões estratégicas focadas no horizonte em realidade aqui e agora não pode acontecer no vácuo. Em vez disso, os líderes de projeto devem cultivar uma compreensão profunda das correntes…

  • PM Network

    Signos vitales

    La transformación de una visión estratégica con enfoque de futuro en una realidad concreta no puede ocurrir en un vacío. En su lugar, los líderes de proyecto deben cultivar una profunda comprensión…

  • Project Management Journal

    How Cooperation Reinforces Conflict over Time member content locked

    By Schweiger, Sylvia | Konlechner, Stefan W. | Güttel, Wolfgang H. Managing projects raises multiple tensions such as the need to balance cooperativeness and assertiveness. By adopting a process perspective, we analyze why a project group consisting of three…

Advertisement