The Second Aspirational Responsibility Standard in the PMI Code of Ethics

Posted on February 17, 2010 by


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“I wish I could, but you need someone better qualified than I for the job.” Sometimes we are asked to do things that we simply are not qualified to do. This could be for many reasons. In my case, sometimes people have misunderstood my background. I am not a clinical psychologist, yet people have asked me if I can help them with their marriage problems or interpret their dreams. Nope! In other instances, I have been asked to do work in an entirely different profession in order for the company to save money on expensive outside consultant fees.

The Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct contains six aspirational Responsibility standards, with the second one being: “2.2.2 We accept only those assignments that are consistent with our background, experience, skills, and qualifications.”

This does not mean that we cannot accept work if we haven’t performed that exact work before. In fact, we should be continuing to learn and expand our experiences. The Code of Ethics contains a comment stating “Where developmental or stretch assignments are being considered, we ensure that key stakeholders receive timely and complete information regarding the gaps in our qualifications so that they may make informed decisions regarding our suitability for a particular assignment.” They key here is to open and honest about your experiences and qualifications. Perhaps you are almost ready to do a certain type of assignment on your own, but you’d like permission to ask a consultant for advice if certain types of unusual problems arise. Know your own strengths and limitations.

When submitting bids, we also need to be honest about the qualifications of our organization as a whole. A comment contained in the Code of Ethics states “In the case of a contracting arrangement, we only bid on work that our organization is qualified to perform and we assign only qualified individuals to perform the work.” The loss of time and money can be tremendous when a buyer selects a bidder only to find out through experience that the organization was not competent for the work.

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