Project Management Institute

Code of Conduct: A Consistent Value System Helps Projects Run More Smoothly

MANAGING RELATIONSHIPS

A consistent value system helps projects run more smoothly.

BY SHEILINA SOMANI, FAPM, PMP, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

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I recently worked with a client who had a reputation for being “difficult.” The project at hand was a team development workshop, and we met to discuss the needs and expectations in terms of content, approach, language and context. Based on the conversation, I constructed an outline and then developed materials to support the workshop.

As we reviewed both the flow and content, it was clear we were a good match. It turns out he wasn't difficult, but rather exacting—very precise and committed to the team's needs. What was unusual was that the company was as aware and focused on the individual team member's long-term career plans as it was on his or her current role. This, for me, was both refreshing and motivating.

On talking further, my client and I discovered we shared common values and ethics:

  • Trust, honesty and openness
  • Professional integrity
  • Personal commitment
  • Passion and enthusiasm

That compatibility helped make our work experience and the resulting workshop successful. Collaborating with someone who has similar values results in a much more meaningful interaction for all participants. Conversations are conducted with similar language, project goals are consistently understood and there is genuine striving to succeed. Also, team members receive consistent messages.

Common Culture

Project managers are more effective when they're able to articulate the values, beliefs and ethics with the individuals they hope to shape as a team.

This requires companies to have clearly defined ethics and values that are communicated across the organization. Management can then reinforce this culture through leading by example and making sure those ethics and values are reflected in the everyday behavior of its employees.

Corporate values are often mentioned during job interviews, concurred with by hopeful applicants—and then never referred to again. With this recent experience, the corporate values were not only regularly highlighted and reviewed, but employees and their team members were held accountable for consistently demonstrating those values. If someone falters, he or she is challenged and provided with support to improve. For me, this demonstrates a commitment to excellence both personally and professionally.

Project managers like myself are “tourists” to a host organization, but we can create similar climates within our projects by knowing and espousing the corporate values and developing team charters. This code of cooperation supports such behaviors and reinforces the values of professionalism.

If there are no clear corporate guidelines, we can draw from the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct that we agree to abide by as members of PMI and commit to upholding with our designation of Project Management Professional (PMP)®. It's not just up to executives. Project managers, too, can shape and influence organizational culture by acting as role models. PM

Sheilina Somani, FAPM, PMP, is the owner of U.K.-based Positively Project Management, which provides consulting, mentoring and development services.

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This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI.

PM NETWORK FEBRUARY 2010 WWW.PMI.ORG

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