Project Management Ethics

Posted by Kevin Brady on Sun 20th September 2009 at 09:57 PM, Filed in

This week a regular follower of PurpleProjects (twitter) asked about the importance of Project & Programme Managers following a code of ethics. The problem with this however, is where to get an appropriate project management code of ethics to follow?

I believe the project management institutes and associations of the world (such as APMG & PMI) should come together to develop a common set of internationally recognised project management ethics. With IT Project Failure more common than success these ethics are really needed at this present time.

In the absence of such a list here are my own thoughts as to what such a list might look like:-

1. Always treat your employers /clients money as if it was your own – If you project work involves you having to make financial decisions always make these decisions as if the money was your own. This way you will always make the best decisions on behalf of your client /employer.

2. Never knowingly offer / endorse unfeasible solutions and concepts to clients – The standard of care in this respect is very much dependent on your level of experience, and the attainment of professional qualifications. However, it is not acceptable for project managers to knowingly fall into the trap of supporting aggressive sales people in the sale of concepts and technical solutions which are unfeasible in the pursuit of short term gain.

3. Always run projects in accordance with industry best practice- For example PRINCE 2 /PMBOK.

4. Before agreeing to manage a Project, ensure the presence of a mutual understanding between yourself and key stakeholders as to the projects objectives, scope and budget.

5. Avoid conflicts of interest wherever possible & when they are unavoidable immediately disclose them to your client /employer. - When disclosing such conflicts of interest clearly describe how you believe they might unfairly influence your judgment or objectivity.

6. If within the scope of the engagement,  report to appropriate authorities within or external to employer /client any occurrences of malfeasance, dangerous behaviour, or illegal activities.

7. Represent the project management profession with integrity and professionalism, in all interactions with clients, employers, colleagues, and the general public.

8. Do not advertise your own level of professionalism and experience in a deceptive manner nor misrepresent or denigrate other project management practitioners.

9. Care for your stakeholders – Projects nearly always affect aI wide range of stakeholders. Work hard to identify them all and, according to their levels of interest and authority, communicate with them in the most efficient manner.

10. Golden Rule – Never ever lie – Never lie through spin, never lie through jargon or smoke screen representations. Just never lie and display at all times the highest standards of integrity.

These are the ethics I have tried to live by throughout my project management career.  This code of ethics has been really important to me over the years in helping me make some very difficult decisions. I have always tried to stay away from clients and employers who cut across this code of ethics.

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