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Transparency in processes and results is a principle of the PMI code of ethics.
"Golden pill" when results are presented, besides being unethical can harm the company in the medium and long term due to lack of financial sustainability.
It is unfortunate that some PMs do this to shield themselves from being reprimanded in the hope that eventually,they will recover the cost overruns which as it turns out is often never the case. The code of ethics on honesty bestows upon us the duty to understand the truth and act in a truthful manner both in our communications and in our conduct.As a prudent PM,you should communicate the bad news but also give your evaluation of the problem and proposed mitigative measures to arrest the situation.
However, with such a practice, how can one go about combating it?
Bringing about cultural change seems like an uphill task when it comes to communications and people.
Rather than hiding / covering up any setbacks, it is best to come clean with mitigation plans.
How do you think a Project and an Organization would be affected with such a practice?
Having Senior Management lose trust in you as a PM, through lack of honesty, is fatal. With the correct metrics and reporting, it should be clear early on where a budget is starting to become fragile. There will always be reasons for this, so understanding the root cause and ensuring visibility to the management is key to addressing the issue.
Apart from losing trust, how else do you think the organization may get affected as a whole?
It's honestly a very interesting area for me, since lack of reporting could potentially have some serious ramifications aside from loss of trust, since there's always a possibility that any financial impacts are only identified once it's too late.
Unfortunately we have the same issues. When PM's are reporting to senior management, dashboards are all typically green. It is only later that they learn of schedule delays, and cost overruns. To help combat this, there are three approaches that have been implemented:
1. 3-Point Schedule Estimates will soon be mandatory (hopefully with confidence levels included)
2. 3-Point Cost Estimates are mandatory
3. Financial data is now being pulled automatically from our ERP system (SAP) directly into the reports. This now prevents manipulation of the data. Additionally, reports have been generated that allow senior management to pull data directly themselves from the ERP system on project data. Bit by bit the noose is tightening...
In the short term, the PMs hiding their metrics might actually get more support, since it looks like their projects are doing better than they really are.
Let's say your PMO has 5 PMs managing 5 big projects, and they're all struggling to stay on schedule and within budget. But one PM obscures this struggle and reports that everything is going well. Executives with oversight might be fooled into thinking this is their top performing PM. They might even put this PM on their next big project, because it's too important to be left with the 4 under-performing PMs.
In the movies, this PM would eventually be found out and receive an embarrassing comeuppance, and an honest PM would finally be recognized. In real life, this dishonest PM will probably start looking for another job when the lies become too difficult to maintain. It will fall to one of the honest PMs to report that the project is not doing well, and the executives will secretly fume to one another that the PMO can't be trusted.
How would a 3 point cost and schedule estimate help exactly?
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