IPMA International Project Management Association
10 March 2017 / 11:52

New Diversity in Project Management Award by IPMA

On the occasion of the first Diversity in Project Management conference taking place on April 10-11 in s´Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands, IPMA introduces a new award to the international project management community: the Diversity in Project Management Award. This award is dedicated to honour those project managers or organisations that have proven to successfully manage and actively use diversity in their project or organisation.

Diversity is translated with difference or unlikeness. The active use of diversity in the form of heterogeneous team members concerning age, gender, education, nationality, origin, language, religion, handicaps or organisational culture helps project managers to achieve better project results which a homogeneous team would have never been able to.

Let´s take the example of a car development project: having a homogeneous mono-cultural project team of experts from the various areas of knowledge that consider the local customer and legal requirements will create a product that corresponds to the local requirements. However no global car manufacturer can afford to develop ten different local versions of one model for the major world markets North America, China, Japan, South-East Asia, India, Australia, Europe, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Arabian countries. These markets differ tremendously in terms of climate and environmental conditions, safety and traffic regulations, road conditions, or consumer requirements and behaviours. Aspects like speed limits, the curb height for parking and getting out of the car, eating and drinking habits in the car, but also the shopping behaviour, services like valet parking, or leisure activities like golfing or skiing, but also the colour and material taste differ from culture to culture and have a great impact on the design and later success of a new product. In times of hundreds of different variants the customer has the choice to select the one model that perfectly corresponds to his/her individual requirements. A car manufacturer needs to know the customer requirements and even to surprise their customers by a feature or function that they did not expect. For that reason the development team needs to deeply understand their different target groups worldwide. This is possible by working with a diverse project team with members from the main target markets who know the local conditions and requirements from their own experience. But it is not only the local backgrounds that enrich a project team: E.g. younger engineers do hardly understand the requirements of elderly customers by entering, monitoring the instruments, sitting several hours in or getting off the car. Healthy engineers hardly understand the requirements of physically disabled customers. Male managers are not aware of the requirements of female consumers on cars. Small engineers do not know the needs of bigger people e.g. when getting on the car in small parking spaces.

The examples show that car manufacturers need a maximum diverse team of experts that are able to translate the needs of the diverse customer groups into the product requirements and to harmonize the resulting objectives to realize a product that successfully fulfils the needs and requirements of the global customers.

However managing a diverse team sounds easier than it actually is. It requires that the diversity of the project team members is appreciated and actively used by the project manager concerning the different capabilities, competences and characteristics. However diversity is still not systematically applied as a success factor in project teams. This is the reason why this new IPMA award is introduced to support this necessary development.

Many companies have recognized the strategic value of corporate awards to improve their business operations and to boost the development of a diverse workplace for achieving the values of a new diverse corporate culture. The new Diversity in Project Management Award by IPMA can support to attract new global talents to the company and to bind them to the organisation on the long-run.

If you perceive that your project team or organisation outperform in diversity management, we encourage you to apply for the Diversity in Project Management Award. The template can be downloaded on: http://www.ipma.world/awards/achievement-awards/diversity-in-pm/.   The dateline for the application is March 19, 2017.

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Author of this post

Dr. Yvonne Schoper is Professor for International Project Management at HTW University of Applied Sciences Berlin.
Dr. Schoper holds a BSc in Engineering Management, a MA International Business and a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering.
She worked as a project manager for BMW where she was responsible for several international automotive development projects in USA and in Germany.
Her research interests are the projectification of economies and the impact on society, women, careers and income in project management.
Since 2021 she is member of the Executive Board of IPMA for the remit Membership and Young Crew.