Project Management

Ethics: A Means to an End?

PMI New Jersey Chapter

John is a versatile, results-driven technologist and manager and is recognized for leveraging his broad business experience, technical knowledge and analytical skills to drive change and help organizations achieve their strategic objectives. John loves sharing ideas through his articles and is eager to hear feedback from the community. John is also the President of

While ethics is all about “doing the right thing,” the “right thing” might mean one thing to you and another to me. Furthermore, the “right thing” is often applied to how something is said or done, and there are many shades of gray that make ethics a challenge.

Every individual is unique, and while we have a lot of things in common with a lot of people, we don’t really have everything in common with anyone. Hence, there will be conflicts--in vision for the future, how to execute a task, in priorities, in values, in what is fair, etc. It can be incredibly complex and potentially overwhelming.

That’s why “people skills” are so important for project managers. It often comes down to weighing alternatives that are not black and white…and this place where the weighing of alternatives happens is generally where you and I as the project manager reside.

Your “Situation” as a Case in Point
So, with the intersection--often collision--of all of these things in mind, let’s take a look at a real life situation in which you might very well find yourself.

You are assigned to a program that is ongoing, and are going to manage a portion of it. As you dig in and get up to speed, you begin to uncover “issues”--and you wonder if certain people might not be forthcoming with information, and …

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"My way of joking is to tell the truth. It is the funniest joke in the world."

- George Bernard Shaw



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