This course refers to the Project Management Institute (PMI)®. PMI is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- I think the idea of looking at yourself in the mirror and liking what you see, is a great model for helping you do the right thing. Project managers have plenty of opportunities to face ethical decisions as their jobs require them to change things in a business or work with a variety of managers and drive procurement activities. The project management institute or PMI is an association which supports the profession of project management worldwide. PMI has published a code of ethics for project managers to help us make ethical decisions.
This code includes four values of ethical behavior. Responsibility, Respect, Fairness and Honesty. In this course I'll be discussing these values in depth along with anecdotes and hints for ensuring you consistently work in harmony with these ethical values. To start let me share PMI's definition for each of these values and then provide you with some additional detail taken from my 30 years working as a project manager.
The first value is responsibility which PMI defines as "Our duty to take ownership of the decisions we make or fail to make, the actions we take, or fail to take and the consequences that result." I like to describe this value as ownership. As project managers we need to own the actions we take, and the outcomes that come about from those actions. I think it goes beyond decisions. It involves the discussions we have, the relationships we build and every means we use to get our projects completed successfully.
And if you own these things and would be willing to broadcast a video of your actions for public viewing, you've probably done well in this area. The second value is respect. PMI defines respect as "Our duty to show a high regard for ourselves, others, and the resources entrusted to us. Resources entrusted to us may include people, money, reputation, the safety of others, and natural or environmental resources." As a project manager you are a steward for the business that employs you.
That stewardship includes anything and everything that is an asset to the business including people's time, and intellectual property. You should feel personal ownership for every project you manage. In addition you should treat the company you work for as if you own it yourself and behave accordingly. The third value is fairness, PMI defines fairness as "Our duty to make decisions and act impartially and objectively.
Our conduct must be free from competing self interest, prejudice, and favoritism." Procurement exercises are a common part of life for a project manager. Because of personal relationships we can put ourselves in a compromising position during procurement exercises. Sometimes we can't be completely objective when it comes to a purchase for your project. If personal relationships exist with the vendors involved in a procurement exercise, the wise project manager will put their information on the table, but let others run the procurement.
The fourth and final value is honesty. According to PMI "Honesty is our duty to understand the truth and act in a truthful manner both in our communications and in our conduct." I would add one item to this definition, and that is ensuring we guide people appropriately with the way we speak and act. Every communication you share should lead your listener to a truthful perception. I can say a project task was completed on time, which may be the truth.
But if I know the output from the task was not satisfactory I could be misleading someone into thinking all is okay with that project task when that is not the case at all. This is not embracing the value of honesty. There you have it. The four values of ethical behavior as defined by PMI. Throughout the course I'll be referencing these and expanding on the definitions that PMI provides in its code of conduct. I will also use examples to help guide you, so that person you look at in the mirror every morning, is smiling because he's doing the right thing.
BONUS: In the bonus chapter, Bob answers seven questions about specific ethical dilemmas: sharing information, resolving conflicts over standards, communicating with stakeholders, reporting project status honestly, and more.
- Demonstrating responsibility
- Showing respect
- Operating with fairness
- Behaving with honesty
- Understanding mandatory, aspirational, and personal ethical standards
- Reviewing ethical situations in project management
- Reporting ethical problems