Project Management Central
As a project management professional, how do you deal with a conflict of interest when it is discovered? What steps should you take to ensure the matter is dealt with professionally and fairly?
As a project management professional, how do you deal with a conflict of interest when it is discovered? What steps should you take to ensure the matter is dealt with professionally and fairly? Saving Changes...
Key is professional expertise.
You may need to endorse and report the possibility of a conflict of interest to the experts in your organization. The ethics and compliance department is the right group that could assist on this. Saving Changes...
As a PM, I will first remove myself from the decision making authority if my role is involved. I will try to highlight the situation to all the relevant stakeholders so that it can get sufficient attention and can be handled fairly and professionally. I also feel that its up to any Org policies and politics balance as how such things can be handled. Saving Changes...
1. Conflict of interest at personal level - In this case you should let your reporting manager/project sponsor in the organization immediate know immediately and let them handle it. It could mean you may be asked to not handle the project from next day.
2. Conflict of interest at organizational level - You should let the project sponsor in your organization or legal or both of them know immediately and let them handle it
The response would vary in each situation. In either case as a project manager you should not take any decision as Alankar suggested Saving Changes...
The only advice I can offer over and above the excellent feedback already provided is to act as quickly as possible BUT ensure you have the facts first so that you aren't proceeding based on false assumptions.
Thank you all for your responses. It's always easier to deal with a conflict of interest at the start of a project or initiative. The longer the project is progressing, the timing compounds the problem as well as its impact. I was wondering if you had any experiences of a conflict of interest mid-project where the impact was quite critical that the project had to be closed and restarted or someone ended up being fired? Saving Changes...
Great question, Amany!
I can see that there are already some excellent responses.
As Kiron and Amany rightly pointed out, Conflicts of Interest situations need to be handled on a timely basis.
Ramachandran Swaminathan and Stephane correctly pointed out that these situations could be handled by various departments/key stakeholders.
However, since COIs can become a deadly cancer that can quickly spread and kill any project, the project manager needs to take a very proactive leadership role with openness and ethical leadership being critical to project success.
PMI's Ethical Decision-Making Framework (EDMF) which can be found at http://www.pmi.org/ethics can be a great tool in these situations. Saving Changes...