Project Ethics (Pt. III)

David Schmaltz is a project manager in Takoma Park, Maryland.

What constitutes the ethical responsibilities of project work? Our series continues with a look at three more guiding principles: “interpret generously” to simplify controversy … “work the system to make it work” instead of compliantly complaining … and “sit comfortably with the mess” for a while in order to understand its true nature and avoid a larger one.

This four-part series outlines the seven ethical responsibilities of project work. The first installment made the distinction between morals (You Shall!) and ethics (I Will!), defining ethics as personal choices made when acknowledging the cost of choosing otherwise.
The second installment considered three ethical responsibilities: Acknowledging Blindness, Pursuing With Personal Purpose, and Extending Trust, concluding that when coming to a fork in the road, taking it mindfully makes a real difference.
This third installment introduces three more ethical responsibilities: Making the Most Generous Possible Interpretations, Working The System So The System Can Work, and Sitting Comfortably With The Mess.
4. Make the Most Generous Possible Interpretations
I won’t exhort anyone to describe the glass pictured at right as half full or half empty. Rather, I’ll declare that there is no question that this is a line drawing depicting a glass with some water in it. No controversy.…

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A conference is a gathering of important people who singly can do nothing, but together can decide that nothing can be done.

- Fred Allen