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On the Importance of Values on Project Management

On the Importance of Values on Project Management
By Ed Hoffman, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

“If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.” —Charlie Parker

In the early 1980s, I was involved in conducting a study to determine the effectiveness of a new initiative promoting a more participative organization, interviewing employees and managers.

One young woman assured me that leadership had no interest in a more participative environment. I gently disagreed, pointing to efforts under way to promote participation—quality circles, training, and employee–manager dialogues. She countered by telling me about her recent experience. She had returned from a quality circle and was offering ideas for the office. Her manager told her, “Look, you’ve had your four hours of quality-circle participation; for the rest of the week, just do what I tell you.” Over the next month of interviews, I discovered that her experience was typical. Read the Complete Article

Project Ethics: What in the World Is Going On?

Project Ethics: What in the World Is Going On?
By Kathie York

This paper addresses the concept of ethics in project management. Unlike most researchers, the author does not simply define ethics and show immoral companies/practices vs. moral. She considers the “Why?” of this document’s necessity. She posits ideas on how the United States set the stage for its moral decline and how we, as PMs, must deal with and manage through the consequences.

Note: “Manager” refers to those in a project situation and can be Functional Area or Project Managers.

It is 1711 in (what will become) America. Or, it is 1811 in America. Even if it were 1911 in America – before the first ethics course (Hudson, p. 455) – and your professor at William and Mary College asked you to complete this assignment, you would wonder: “What could I possibly say about ethics to fill a research paper?”

Fast forward to 2011 in America. Read the Complete Article

Integrity in Project Management

Integrity in Project Management
By Robert Kelly

As Project Managers, we encounter opportunities around every corner to be men and women of integrity. Depending on your organization and/or the project you are working on, you may have a tremendous amount of authority and latitude to make decisions…which idea to use, which vendor to leverage, how to present the data and so on. While this article is not a ‘how-to’ (creating a WBS) or a emotional take on some leadership technique (conflict management), it is one article that I feel every project manager, leader….well everyone, should read and reflect on whether or not they are leading with integrity.

In recent years, one of two things have happened within organizations. Either the competition has become so fierce in the face of pending resource actions or the resource action has already occurred and the workload being pushed on you is insane. Even more so in the PM space is that many of you are being thrown into Project Management without any training, mentoring, etc. Read the Complete Article

The Project Manager’s Ethical Dilemma

The Project Manager’s Ethical Dilemma
By Janet Williams

Often, the project manager is faced with an issue that is not easily resolved by theory or the knowledge acquired from formal training. These types of problems are usually not of a technical nature and more often tend to be ethical or human resource issues. The satisfactory answer is often debatable and may suit one set of circumstances and yet not another. It is these difficult issues where the PM must draw from their practical experiences, moral and ethical obligations, and sometimes the rule of law.

For example, international projects take the PM out of the comfort zone of the local laws and customs that they are used to working at home. In many host countries, doing business results in ambiguity and contradictions from the way business is conducted at home – which leads to the question “What is the ethical or right thing to do?” Sometimes a practice that is permissible in the foreign country is not at home. Read the Complete Article

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) And Project Management

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) And Project Management
By Dave Nielsen

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has gained significant momentum in recent years. The push is on to identify projects that reflect the corporation’s sense of social responsibility and to tailor projects to reflect that sense. This is perhaps a step in the right direction when it comes to the corporation’s position in the host community but is extremely difficult and complex in its implementation. There are 2 key factors that contribute to its difficulty:

  1. Corporations’ main goal is still profits; they owe this to their shareholders. Although profits and social responsibility are not necessarily mutually exclusive, there is frequently a price tag associated with CSR projects and this creates a conflict: choose the CSR project, or tailor the project to meet CSR objectives OR focus on increased ROI? Where a project meets both objectives, the conflict is eliminated but you know intuitively that this won’t always be the case and indeed there are more and more news reports about cases where this wasn’t the case.
Read the Complete Article

Ethics in Project Management: Being Right or Getting Paid?

Ethics in Project Management: Being Right or Getting Paid?
By Jorge Dominguez

Some time ago I was convinced that a decision made by upper management was going to impact the outcome of the project I was managing negatively and when I told my boss about arguing the decision he replied: do you want to be right or do you want to get paid?

I would like to think that most of us would want to be right. But in reality, in most organizations we work at, we choose to get paid. Why? Well, it may be that the culture of the organization is such that upper management just hits on top of the table with a fist and that’s it, there is nothing anyone can do about it. Or it may be that we are indifferent, we just work there by accident.

Project Managers (and I would say everybody, not just Project Managers) have a responsibility to do what is right and honorable. Read the Complete Article

Ethics in Project Management

Ethics in Project Management
By Craig Brown

Below is a list of some commonly known ethics in Project Management. Project Managers should abide to this list at all times.

  • Treat the money like it’s your own. If you make financial decisions as if it were your own money you’ll always make the best decisions for your client.
  • Care for your community. Your project affects a diverse range of stakeholders. Know who they are and how you’ll change their lives. Know how you’ll explain your project to your families and friends.

  • Account for the full product life cycle. Today’s new product is tomorrow’s landfill. Understand the true cost of ownership by full lifecycle costing, from sourcing materials to disposal.

  • Do the best you can first time around. When you turn up for work, remind yourself that you are there to do the best job you can. Be proactive, be creative, and be efficient.

Read the Complete Article

A Question of Ethics

A Question of Ethics
By Thomas Cutting

Ethics has been the topic of several separate conversations I have had recently. One friend expressed near outrage about a discussion she overheard between two of her managers. It ended with one saying, “Well, your ethics aren’t necessarily mine!” Another friend found it amusing that he was able to avoid the company ethics meeting by lying about already attending.

It is odd to think that we need training in ethics. No one seems to require training to be unethical. A coworker of mine once summed up the difference between humans and animals by claiming that we are able to devise a justification for our animal-like behavior. Is it possible that ethics really is in the mind of the doer?

Most companies have a code of ethics for their employees to read and sign. Do they think signing a piece of paper will make those of us with questionable morals magically ethical? Read the Complete Article

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