Personal ethics as a Project Manager

As a Project Manager and a certified PMP I operate under a code of ethics for how a Project Manager should operate. If you’ve not read them yet, please make sure that you’re familiar with these documents and try to implement them in your daily business if you are not doing it already. Let’s be clear, we’re all probably behaving ethically according to the code of conduct but are we really following it as its intended?

How often do you do this? : “When we make errors or omissions, we take ownership and make corrections promptly. When we discover errors or omissions caused by others, we communicate them to the appropriate body as soon they are discovered. We accept accountability for any issues resulting from our errors or omissions and any resulting consequences”(point 2.2.4 PMI Code of Ethics). It’s a natural emotion to not want to lose face or admit that you’ve made a mistake but to be a good Project Manager, we need to admit and embrace our mistakes.


It’s critically important for me as a Project Manager that not only do I perform my job to the best of my abilities but that I behave ethically in my dealings and management. On a high level, this includes things like not gold plating, undertaking in illegal activities and discrimination. On a professional level, we have established guidelines for how we behave but on a personal level I try to also maintain my own personal ethics and what I live by every day as a Project Manager. These are not massive changes or things but it makes me sleep better at night, knowing that I’m being a Project Manager that I’d want to work with. Here are a few of my personal ethics that I try to live by:

1)      I respect others working times across time zones and do not demand extraordinary working unless previously agreed

2)      I will not contact team members during holidays or days off unless absolutely critical and I will not be annoyed if I cannot get a response. Holidays and days off are for resting and personal time and not for work

3)      I will search for the best resources on my project, regardless of their age, gender, background.

4)      I respect peoples working hours. I will not schedule unnecessary meetings or prolong meetings unnecessarily. This includes inviting the necessary resources to the meeting that are needed

5)      I will promote and be the best Project Manager that I can be. I will share best practices and support other Project Managers if they are struggling or having issues

6)      I will listen to and actively seek feedback to become a better Project Manager

7)      I will treat all clients as I’d like to be treated. This includes absolute transparency in issues and objectivity in relation to the project status.

8)      I will do what is in the best interest of the project and its objectives.

Why do I make this points explicitly? Because I think it’s very easy to forget that despite our professional obligations and commitments that we make for the projects, we are also responsible on a personal level for behaving and acting in a manner that is appropriate for you personally. When I go into situations, I ask myself several questions:

1)      Would this be how I would want to be treated?

2)      Who ‘wins’ from this? Is there anyone being ‘burnt’ by it?

3)      Could I do this better? If yes, what can I do to get this knowledge?

One thing that I would strongly recommend that you do as a Project Manager is come up with your own set of personal ethics. What do they look like? What is important to you?

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