The business case for professional responsibility

The previous section made the moral case for abiding by a professional code of practice. There is a related commercial reason, or business case, to do so. In terms of legal liability when something goes wrong, there is a great difference between on the one hand having made a reasonable effort to follow recognized practice but failing to achieve the desired results for the client, and on the other hand not having even tried to follow recognized practice and then failing. The first kind of mistake is treated much more leniently in the courts and by the client, which means less cost and shame if things go wrong, and even if things do not go wrong, lower insurance premiums. Companies that provide project management services are charged lower insurance premiums if their employees are members of a recognized professional body than if they are not.

We believe that the main reason to take professional responsibility seriously is the moral one, but the business case is separately a sufficient reason to do so.

Key Idea

Professional responsibility

As a professional you have a special privilege in your relationship with your client, which is that the client cannot check the quality of what you do in the same way as tangible goods can be inspected and measured. In return for this special power that you have in the relationship, you have a special responsibility not to take advantage and to always do your utmost to work in the client's interest. This includes not holding yourself out as having skills and experience that you do not have.

Understand what your client's interests are, know your own abilities and limits, and do your absolute utmost accordingly to serve the client's interest, putting yours to one side in exchange for your fee.


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Definitive Guide to Project Management. The Fast Track to Getting the Job Done on Time and on Budget
The Definitive Guide to Project Management: The fast track to getting the job done on time and on budget (2nd Edition)
ISBN: 0273710974
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2007
Pages: 217
Authors: Sebastian Nokes
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