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Integrity in Project Management

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Acting with integrity with other project team members implies being honest with them--and clear about your expectations, intentions and opinions of the work they do.

As a project manager, one has to have integrity in order to sell to the project team the need to succeed and deliver the project on time, on budget and within the scope of the project.

Not only will the team members buy into the plan of action and your project management methodology, they will also become a solid extension of you and remain committed to going out there and getting the job done.

Here are three tips for acting with integrity:

Be Impartial: Be fair and objective. Listen to both sides of the story, various opinions, without attaching oneself to any specific one due to prejudice or favoritism. Objective decision-making fleshes out the problems and allows teams to get to the bottom of them rather than patching them.

Be Thorough: Finish tasks completely, in a comprehensive manner. I find that being thorough in project planning activities means evaluating project requirements and any gaps in details. It also means validating steps against the chosen project management methodology. This ensures a much more comprehensive project management plan and that supporting documentation is produced.

Be Focused on the End Business Result: No matter when team members are introduced, they should verify--within the scope of their project role--initial business requirements and the work that is being requested of them. This allows them to provide their own input based on their subject matter expertise and strengthens the chances for project success.

 

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6 Comments

I always believe in team work and when it comes to projects, everyone has to play their roles and there must be integrity and ultimately team work.

Quite a refreshing topic - where we link the subject of integrity to managing projects.

The suggestions offered here are practical. The thoughts are sincere and the examples are real.

There are several meanings to this:

1. For instance, letting project team members know the plans, the objectives and goals of the project and each of them to know the part that they play. When words get translated into actions, the team will know that the project manager means what he/she says and the members will rally round to support the cause.

2. It could also mean setting ground rules for meetings, for respecting the opinions of others, since it would be the behavioral aspects that team could relate to. And people like what they can associate with—processes and rules alike.

Thanks for the contributions.

Regards
Maureen Gan, PMP

That's quite interesting, actually. Telling the truth, whatever it may be, or being authentic when communicating with project team members (but of course this relationship goes both ways), is interesting to observe.

There are principle drivers for being authentic vs. not. When people try to be authentic, they are either feeling they want to be recognized for being honest or being recognized for sharing openly, i.e. they are simply there to help the project.

So that's a personal need. People's needs are so critically connected with how they will use "the truth" and how they will communicate it.

I've seen a lot of cases out there and for me one way to encourage integrity is to simply lead by example, be honest about your expectations, your timelines, your agenda.

Nobody likes to work with someone who is trying to accomplish his/her agenda at a cost of someone else suffering. There are many opportunities for the entire team to be fully engaged in the project, be honest with each other and benefit from that, and simply have fun delivering something awesome. Even when people don't have a full picture or full knowledge required to get the job done, what I appreciate the most is someone coming to me, like in the Days of Thunder, and saying, "I know 'jack' ... about cars," and not trying to impress me with little knowledge they just Googled just to keep their contract.

We are all learning at all times. There's no such thing as perfect knowledge. And when we do have, what some call "perfect knowledge", we are simply bored, as we apply what we already fully know. People always want to be engaged in learning something new, at least most of us.

So the key, in my humble opinion, is in recognizing this, encouraging people to share their challenges, share their weaknesses and things they don't know and need help with, so that we can deliver a quality result and be proud of having worked together and having learned something new while doing it.

Absolutely - Integrity has been underrated, but can pull a team together or rip it apart faster than a speeding bullet !!!

Consistency of Actions, Values, Expectations, Honesty, etc.... are how you judge the quality of a project.

Enabling your team to honor this is one of goals of a Project Manager. So as a PM you must model it & reward your teammates when every you see this behavior active.

How do you encourage INTEGRITY?

Dimitri,

This is a good post and a subject that is rarely examined although very important (I've run PM Hut for years now and I only have a few articles on this subject). Check this article on Project Management Integrity http://www.pmhut.com/project-management-integrity-at-least-try-to-fake-it , it's actually quite good, and it brings up different points than yours.

Could I add a 4th tip?

Telling the truth.

Sounds quite simple but is often hard to do and can take a lot of courage. Regardless, in my mind it is critical to demonstrating integrity as a project manager.

Telling the truth involves:
- Being clear about what is required and what is not
- Saying no at the appropriate times
- Openly, respectfully and clearly stating your position on things even when it is not the same as say senior stakeholders or influential team members.

I sometimes explain it to my team as always walking on solid ground. I believe your team will detect quickly when you are no longer on solid ground and stop following you.

I hope this helps.

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