Project Management

How Do You Know You're Behaving Ethically?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

We all understand that there is a right and wrong way of working. We all understand that we are expected to act in the right way and avoid the temptations of the wrong way--cutting corners, taking advantage of people, etc.

At the extremes, it’s easy to define how we should behave, but there are a lot of gray areas that are far less simple and straightforward to differentiate between. Suppose the sponsor is pressuring us to deliver a project on time, and the only way we can do that is to cut some corners on the process, skip a few steps in the testing process and have the team work the next few weekends.

Is that acceptable? Chances are most of you will think some of those steps are acceptable, and some aren’t. The problem is there is rarely any formal guidance provided to you when these are real situations in your working life, so how do you know what to do?

An ethical baseline
Our professional organizations provide us with a set of expected behaviors and standards that we are expected to meet, and we have to make a commitment to uphold those standards, so I guess that could be the end of this article. We have to live up to that commitment before we do anything else; if we fall short, we fail.

But let’s be honest. Most of you reading this have no idea exactly what that ethical commitment is that you make when you renew your membership, and most of …

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- William Shakespeare