Promises and the PMI Code of Ethics

Posted on March 23, 2010 by


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“I know Jack will get that report to me by Friday. He said I’ll have it by Friday, so I’ll have it by Friday—Jack never lets me down. When he says something will get done, I don’t worry about it because I can trust he’ll take care of it” says the project sponsor. “You’re fortunate to have him,” replies the vice president, “Lara  has repeatedly promised that he’ll have those cost estimates on my desk ‘tomorrow,’ but I’m lucky if I get them in three days. I’m at the point where I have to tell him what I need a week beforehand so I have enough days to remind him to do his job!”

Would you rather have the reputation of Jack or Lara? The fourth aspirational Honesty standard in the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct ( is “5.2.4 We make commitments and promises, implied or explicit, in good faith.” When we make a commitment, we must do so with good, honest intentions that we will do what we can to fulfill our promise. Implying that we’ll be able to make a commitment that we know we cannot is entirely dishonest, which is the reason this standard is categorized as an Honesty standard.

Dishonesty is a behavior that can follow a person  around their career.   Businesses change, career’s change.  Even in the midst of that change its important to ensure commitments are fulfilled, promises kept and communication is open.

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