Project Management

Project Ethics: More Than You Can Imagine!

Matthew D. Gonzalez, MCSE, PMP

While we're well aware of ethical cases such as Enron and Martha Stewart, we don't hear about the thousands of ethical issues that still occur on a day-to-day basis that aren't as public. Unfortunately, nowhere does the subject of ethics appear while studying for the PMP, much less taking basic courses in project management. This leads me to believe that most of what I've experienced are hard-nosed, experience-based facts that could never be taught in a classroom. Let's see a few examples of how a project manager needs to be cognizant of the ethical issues that may occur while managing a project.


Almighty Power Syndrome

I worked on a project once (which will remain nameless) where the politics were enough to make anyone wish they were President of the United States as opposed to being a project manager. Time was, as usual, the main variable at stake. Money was being thrown around left and right, and quality was judged on the merits of "if the customer wants it that bad, they're going to get it bad!" I was managing all of the IT resources on the project and defects were abundant during the testing phase. In short, our developers were managing to stay just one step ahead of the testers, which is never a good sign. As the program manager got wind of this, he immediately marched my way and stated to me: "If your developers don't manage to move any faster, I'll put …

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You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, "My God, you're right! I never would've thought of that!

- Dave Barry