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Take the Oath

Over the last few years, I’ve seen more and more people get certifications (or accreditations) from PMI, Scrum Alliance, APMG, and now SAFe.  Some will demonize the organizations for offering certifications and accreditations without actually proposing anything to deal with what they perceive as a problem.

I believe certifications and accreditations are only as good as the people who get them.  One component I see missing is an oath of honor.  Yes, like Kingon honor or knights of the round table honor. (oh ya, I’m a geek)

When I wanted to be a Boy Scout, I met the qualifications.  But I then took an oath.

When I wanted to be a U.S. Marine, I met the qualifications.  But I then took an oath.

When I wanted to be a Freemason, I met the qualifications. But I then took an oath (which I can’t repeat)

Not to compare project managers and leaders to doctors, but they take the Hippocratic Oath!  From that, I took inspiration.  Instead of trying to save lives, we’re trying to save projects.

So, here is my first shot at it.  I call it the Metis Oath.  Metis was the Titan goddess of good counsel, advise, planning, cunning, craftiness and wisdom. Let me know what you think.

Metis Oath

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won gains of those practitioners in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the stakeholders, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to project management and leadership as well as science, and that empathy and understanding may outweigh all other things.

I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a project’s recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my stakeholders, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of project success or failure. If it is given to me to save a project, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to fail a project; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty.

I will remember that I do not serve a budget, or a schedule, but a human being, whose success may affect the person’s project and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the project.

I will prevent waste whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of managing and leading those who seek my help.


About Derek Huether

I'm Vice President of ALM Platforms at LeadingAgile. Author of Zombie Project Management (available on Amazon). Novice angel investor.

4 Responses to “Take the Oath”

  1. December 9, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Reminds me of our Agile Scout Order of Agility and Law. Similar to your oath. Very good indeed!

    • Anonymous
      December 9, 2010 at 4:38 pm

      I almost wrote one like yours! But that was the Scout Law and I didn’t want to totally rip you off. 🙂 That’s why I went with an oath.

      To this day, I can recite the Scout Law from memory. This says a lot since I have a horrible memory. A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.

      It’s all good stuff.

  2. Anonymous
    December 13, 2010 at 5:05 am

    Not catchy enough! How would you tweet it?

    • Anonymous
      December 13, 2010 at 4:25 pm

      I think people would unfollow me in droves if I tweeted that out 140 characters at a time.

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