Although project management seems a simple task to many, it become tricky to handle. How well an individual handles a project determines its success or failure. Where each project manager has some unique traits of managing a project, there are some important ethics that everyone should consider for effective results.

The question arises: if different traits can help in achieving success, what role does ethics play in project management? Why is it so important for project managers to follow ethical practices?

The importance of ethical practices in project management is great:

  1. Helps to maintain and improve the standards
  2. Creates a sense of trust and faith among team members
  3. Uplifts an individual’s moral traits
  4. Helps in making better decisions
  5. Helps in optimizing the risk factors associated with the project
  6. Reduces pressure on the team members

These are some of the many benefits that ethical measures in a project management can lead to, but there is more to the picture. There are some ethical practices a manager should possess, too. Let’s review five key ethical practices in detail.

1) Presenting Project Reports

A simple project management software is capable of delivering correct reports. These describe how every stage has progressed over the project duration. However, there are times when a client asks a manager to present the report. After all, they may not get all the points in the report that easily just by reading it. It is a project manager’s responsibility to present the report to a client appropriately. While presenting the report, a manager needs to be:

Optimistic: Portraying a negative picture to client is not a manager’s ideal dream. Most look forward to presenting an optimistic picture to keep everyone in positive spirit.

Pessimistic: To let a client know about the unknown risks that a project may encounter in its life cycle and how they may affect the progress in later stages is important too. In short, it is essential that the project manager is presenting the true picture.

Factual: Without jumping to conclusions, but highlighting facts and numbers of the project gives the client a clear understanding on how the project should proceed.

When there are different ways of presenting a report, it largely depends on what the project manager presents and how much he/she chooses to reveal. There are times when ethical measures are not the best practices, but even if the project is experiencing challenges, it is recommended to keep all the stakeholders updated on the real status of the project.

  • Create standards and parameters while presenting the report. Team members should be updated about them in advance. This way a stakeholder will be able to interpret the correct status of the project, be it positive or negative. This will also help a team in optimizing the overall process of the project.
  • Avoid the use of approximations. If used, update the client of its use.
  • Don’t hide facts or state a wrong picture.
  • Identify issues and take action at the earliest opportunity. Having a proactive approach helps to optimize the results and manage risks.

2) Managing Stakeholders

Stakeholders are important, but not every time. A PM should know which stakeholder should be given how much weigh in and at what time. It is easy in the moment to make a decision according to the most influential stakeholder of the project, except this is not a right step every time.

For this reason, the impact of stakeholders on the project and how outcomes will affect the other stakeholders are the responsibilities of a project manager. Besides, a project manager should:

  • List down the interests of each stakeholder.
  • Learn to set boundary conditions according to the project requirements.
  • Maintain transparency between all the stakeholders along with determining the impact of each decision on all the members.
  • Negotiate and adopt best conflict resolution techniques for making optimal decisions.

3) Taking Authority

Providing project deliverables on time is a challenge. Meeting this goal requires a manager to take authority over a project. Why is that? Well, decisions made by “the person in charge” ensure the overall quality of a project. The authorities a manager should take on in a project life cycle are:

  • Set precise milestones and take timely updates on each from the team.
  • Refuse to implement any changes without negotiating the cost, scope, time, and impact that they may have on the project.
  • Allocate resources according to the given budget.
  • Ask for a clear roadmap that describes every stage of the project.
  • Highlight issues and resolve them in front of the management to ensure the smooth functioning of a project.

4) Dividing Responsibilities

In case something hasn’t followed the desired path, stakeholders will most often call in the manager. After all, it’s a common practice for a manager to take the bullet, but is he/she really responsible for everything that goes on in a project?

Well, not at all. Although, a manager should take the responsibility if they’ve failed to divide tasks appropriately among team members in the first place. It is their job to divide accountability and responsibilities depending on the requirements of a project.

Let’s not forget the importance of maintaining a clear communication channel within the team. This helps to ensure ethical work division among all team members. There is always a way to simplify each task. To ensure each team member is handling work according to its capabilities, managers should utilize easy project management software, too.

5) Adopting the Correct Process

People say today that experience is all that counts. True. Whatever they’ve learned is never applicable in a real life situation. Not True.

Implementing the correct process during a project’s life cycle is where a manager’s knowledge and experience is actually tested. If a project is lacking adequate measures of risk management, a manager should know which process needs implementation. If frequent changes are not implemented, he/she should know how to introduce them in an agile manner. A PM might struggle to bring a new way into action, but if he/she are committed to a project’s success, they will find various ways that are effective for its health.

What’s Left to Conclude…

No matter what, a project manager is bound to face various challenges during a project’s life cycle. That does not mean that they can’t be dealt with. It may take them time to come up with a solution at first; however, a good PM will be ready with an action plan that helps them provide the deliverable on time.

The ways stated above are subjective to the situation that a manager may face during a project. Regardless, he/she should analyze the situation appropriately and bring in the best practices to handle it without affecting any stakeholder. Project manager, always consider the above-mentioned principles and handle a project ethically with or without project management software.


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