IPMA International Project Management Association
1 June 2015 / 9:28

New IPMA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct available

It is with great pleasure that I tell you about a project I have managed for the Research Management Board of IPMA. A successful project outcome has now been delivered, a Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (CoE) for IPMA.

The modern project manager operates in a complex environment and is often faced with difficult decisions. The main purpose of the CoE is to help project managers to deal with those difficult situations. It includes sections on the commitments project managers make to their project owners and stakeholders, as well as commitments to co-workers and employees. It also deals with the responsibility of project managers towards the wider society, including sustainability and the environment. Last but not least, the CoE addresses the educational mission of project managers as well as the integrity of the profession which depends on the reputation and professionalism of project managers.


This project started in the summer of 2013 when a concept paper was written on the writing of a CoE for the association. The proposal was accepted and a project team started work in the autumn. The project team consisted of Helgi Thor Ingason, Haukur Ingi Jonasson and Olof Embla Eyjolfsdottir, all from Reykjavik University in Iceland. We have conducted a number of workshops with people from IPMA’s Council of Delegates, we have consulted with a review group of IPMA people who have shown an interest in the project and finally we have conducted a world survey where we collected viewpoints from the worldwide IPMA family. The world survey gave a very valuable input into the development of the CoE but in addition, the survey yielded interesting research results that we hope to share with the project management community in the coming months. To give a few examples, an overwhelming majority of respondents stated that IPMA needs a CoE as it will increase the credibility of IPMA project managers, it will enhance trust between clients and project managers and it will provide valuable guidance and raise awareness of ethical issues among project managers. Another example of our research results is that when asked if “bribes are used in their project management community to get things done” – 76% of respondents answered “never” or “rarely” while 24% answered “occasionally,” “frequently” or “very frequently.” This is something for all of us to think about.

The development of the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct has been an iterative process and the outcome reflects viewpoints and priorities that have emerged through a lively dialogue with many participants. This is a very important prerequisite for such a document to be of use. The new CoE was formally approved with all votes at the meeting of IPMA delegates in Dublin on March 29th. The CoE is now available on the IPMA website: New IPMA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

The project team tried to learn from the process and we have written a paper on our method for developing the CoE. This paper will be made publicly available for everyone interested in learning about our approach and our experiences. Any comments, feedback or suggestions regarding the CoE and our method are greatly appreciated.

Most professionals are held to strict ethical and moral regulations that their profession defines for itself. It is therefore important for IPMA, as a professional association, to have a Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, not only for the association but more importantly to give the members guidelines on how to make ethically sound decisions. It has been a privilege to participate in this very important project for IPMA and I sincerely hope that the new CoE will help to move our important profession forward.


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Helgi Thor Ingason

Author of this post

Helgi Thor Ingason holds a PhD from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, MSc from the University of Iceland and a SAPM degree from Stanford University. He is a Certified Senior Project Manager by IPMA. Dr. Ingason is an professor at Reykjavik University. He is the co-author of 6 books on management in Icelandic and English. He is a management consultant and a member of the Research Management Board of IPMA.