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PM Essence
Editor’s Note  
SoumenDe
Dear Friends,
 
Greetings from PMI Bangalore India Chapter!
 
Last month, our Country was debating one of the greatest potential case of “Conflict of Interest”, involving, Ex Chairman and Commissioner of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Lalit Modi (LaMo- thanks to media for coining this name!!) and two senior politicians. As usual, there was a furore in Parliament with ruling party and opposition party daggers drawn at each other. People expressing their opinion on social media only added fuel to the fire. 
The impacted people were trying to get more political support and plead innocence. I am not a political commentator, and do not want to comment on this issue. However this is a good opportunity for us to revisit the importance of “conflict of interest”.
 
A conflict of interest occurs when the PM considers his/her personal interests above the interests of the project or when PM influences others to make decisions in his/her favor without regard for the project outcome. In other words personal interests takes precedence over professional obligation. As PM, it is possible that conflicts of interest might come up on the engagements we are managing. We need to watch out for associations and affiliations with whom we are interacting during our projects. If our relative owns a company that is selected as a supplier in our project we have a conflict of interest. We need to proactively revisit our company policies and officially declare this relationship. And we need to step out of any decision making process related to this company. Every company also has a “Gift Policy”, where we are supposed to follow certain norms when offering or receiving gifts from our suppliers. There is always a thin line between 'being courteous' and looking as 'receiving excess'. Some examples, your supplier is sending you a 'car' for picking and dropping you to deliver a technical lecture at their premises. Your project has been a resounding success and your supplier's leadership team want to celebrate it with entire project team (both supplier and direct employees) over a dinner. If a gift is given to you or you have to give a gift to supplier, a good approach is to comply with company policies and let your senior management know. As PM, we do identify and manage risk during the entire project life cycle. As a part of risk management, we need to sniff out any lurking 'conflict of interest' in our projects. Once it is identified, we need to acknowledge it immediately by adhering to company's policy guidelines and involving our senior management. This document from PMI allows us to understand conflict of interest during our engagement with PMI stakeholders.
 
 
The more senior we are in organization's hierarchy, the more influence we will have on decision making process. At the same time, there will be even more number of people (Read- your positive and negative stakeholder) watching you very closely. As PM, it is absolutely important for us to understand “Conflict of Interest” opportunities and how it has the potential to make or mar the project outcome. If we fail to adopt the right code of conduct during such situation, it may have the potential to reduce our reputation to dust. And once we lose our reputation, we lose everything – and our ability to influence the outcome of project and deliver impactful business results becomes history.
 
Happy Reading.
Thanks and Best Wishes,
Soumen De, PMP
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Technology Support : Sekar Parasuraman, PMP
Editorial Board
Murali Santhanam, PMP
Namita Gupta, PMP, PMI-ACP
Rama K, PMP, PMI-ACP
Shikha Vaidh, PMP, PMI-ACP
Soumen De, PMP
Sujata Sahu, PMP