PMI Columbus GA Chapter


“It’s not MY Responsibility”

 “It’s not MY Responsibility”

By Pam Ames, VP of Governance

Our PMI Code of Ethics (“the Code”) reminds us of our pledge to ethical behavior.  As practitioners, we all want to guard and protect the credibility and reputation of our profession by conducting ourselves in ways that uphold high standards. 

One of the 4 pillars of core values identified as most important is Responsibility.  Sometimes responsibility is more apparent than at other times.  Review the following situations and consider what you would do under these circumstances. 


  1. You, a certified PMP, have been managing a project within a program of several projects. Your peer PM reports that team members have lacked the skills needed to complete tasks on time.  She has been reporting the project is on time because she hopes they will “turn the corner” next week and the project will come in only slightly over time.  Furthermore, she told you she is not a PMP but was including the certification with her signature since she had been taking some courses at the local university.  What should you do as a project manager?
    1. Ignore the situation and hope for the best.
    2. Report her actions to HR.
    3. Confront her about falsifying reports.
    4. Report her actions to PMI.
  1. Two stakeholders have begun fighting over functionality on your project. They both have positions at levels higher than yours.  Who should resolve this conflict?
    1. Executive Management
    2. The Sponsor
    3. The Customer
    4. The Project Manager
  1. You have been assigned to a project for a team that is known to be difficult to manage and uncooperative. You’ve made your feelings of reluctance known to your company because you predict the project will fail.  The company wants you to work on the project anyway.  What would be the best thing for you to do?
    1. Refuse to take the project.
    2. Inform the Sponsor.
    3. Manage the project.
    4. Resign from the company.



Responsibility is our duty to take ownership for the decisions we make or fail to make, the actions we take or fail to take, and the consequences that result.

        • We fulfill the commitments we undertake.
        • We do not engage in illegal behavior.
        • We do not condone or assist others in engaging in illegal behavior.
        • We report violations.
        • We do not condone retaliation.




  1. D. Report her actions to PMI.

The code of conduct requires you to report violations to PMI.  The code of conduct does not apply to everyone in the world.  However, it applies to project managers who are affiliated with PMI.  In this case, it’s not clear if the offender was a PMI member, but the responsibility is on the one who holds the PMP certification.  We believe that the credibility and reputation of the project management profession is shaped by the collective conduct of individual practitioners. 

  1. D. The Project Manager.

It is the project manager’s responsibility to balance stakeholder interests.  The project manager should attempt to resolve this conflict.

  1. C. Manage the project.

This is a difficult scenario because you can’t always pick and choose projects that appeal to you or those that assure success.  The best thing to do is manage the project and follow the project management processes.  If the project will not be successful, it should become apparent sooner rather than later.

  • Adapted from the Fourth Edition, Fifth printing, May 2010 of The PMP Exam – How to Pass on Your First Try by Andy Crowe, PMP