Project Management Ethics

Paul Naybour

As a project manager, you can refer to the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct for information regarding the standards that project managers should be adhering to. Nevertheless, as is the case in all industries, there are going to be ethical grey areas where it can be hard to know whether something crosses the line and what to do about it. A good example of this is when someone provides you with figures that appear to be inaccurate rather than based on fact. What should you do about it? These are the sort of situations you could encounter, and to help you deal with them, discover how to always have project management ethics in mind when operating in your role as project manager.

Challenge decisions

You should always feel that your stakeholders are open to hearing your opinions regarding the project you are going to be working on. After all, you are being trusted to deliver the piece of work, so surely your opinions are going to be valued? If you think a decision is wrong, challenge it. You will gain more respect by doing so.

Don’t deliberately leave information out

Lying by omission is not the same as being truthful. You may feel that it is easier to dodge a question or leave out a bit of information, but this could change everything. For example, if you imply your project is on schedule because you do not want to disappoint the client, you are putting yourself in a very precarious position. As soon as something goes wrong, even minor, you will be even more off track and will find it hard to dig yourself out of the hole you have put yourself in. Being transparent and honest at all times is of paramount importance to your professional career development.

Don’t play favourites

It is important to get the balance in the team right and learn how best to communicate and interact with different types of people. Harmony is paramount in any project management team, and this is instantly destroyed once you start playing favourites with the team members you have working with you. Of course, you are going to like some people in your team more than others, but remember that in your professional role you should treat all of the team members the same.

Don’t use assets from your last job

Finally, when moving into a new project management role, there is nothing wrong with using templates you’ve used before to assist you, or drawing on your experience using previous processes. However, you need to make sure you do not reinvent the wheel. You need to have your new organisation’s vision and objectives in mind, rather than just transferring what you did before.

Project management ethics are a major part of the role of project manager, so take note of these ideas, and always be aware that in order to be a great project manager, you really should have a strong set of ethics to live and work by.

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