Corruption and Project Management (Project Management Report from São Paulo)



By Mauricio Lopes

São Paulo, Brazil



Corruption and project management

On May 27, 2015 the world woke up terrified with the operation led by the FBI to arrest seven directors of FIFA. The reason for the arrests was corruption in many TV broadcasting contracts from various championships around the world.

This is not an isolated case of corruption in the world. Far from it. We are living in Brazil since last year with an unprecedented corruption scandal in Brazil’s largest company, Petrobras. This scandal involved several stakeholders like politicians, businessmen, directors and managers of Petrobras.

The corruption occurs in many ways and in many situations. One of the biggest corruption occurrences are in the projects due to the high amounts involved. Exactly in this context we have a vulnerability in this process. The projects are one of the main areas where corruption resides and thus must be addressed harder.

Good practices are necessary but not sufficient

It is true that today the good project management practices are widely practiced around the world. There is also the adoption of corporate governance as well as the project governance. In most cases, the projects are managed by professionals certified by PMI ® or IPMA ®, but the problems with corruption still occur frequently. Many companies also use the FEL methodology developed by IPA (Independent Project Analysis) to ensure the profitability of large projects and still accumulate losses due to corruption.

The PMI also has a comprehensive Code of Ethics directed to the project manager’s role.

Despite all the advances in the use of tools and techniques in programs and project management, good practices are necessary but not sufficient. This is a reality.

Sox Law: that is a good example

Can we go back in time to 2001, immediately after the world was still traumatized by the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. The accounting scandal in one of the largest American companies, Enron, demanded that it be sanctioned by the US Congress who enacted a law to set new standards and improvements for all US public companies, boards of directors and internal business administration. It was the Sarbanes-Oxley Law, known as Sox Law.

The Sox Law has allowed greater investor confidence and the sustainability of organizations. A breakthrough of this law was to blame the individual for the crimes and not only companies, which dramatically inhibits actions in violation of existing laws.

Why is there no specific legislation to ensure that projects are managed by the main stakeholders within the ethical and moral standards required by, for example, PMI®’s Code of Ethics?


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About the Author


pmwj35-Jun2015-Lopes-PHOTOMaurício Lopes

São Paulo, Brazil



Maurício Lopes
, PMP is a Project Management Specialist. He was PMP certified in 2000. He is a civil engineer with MBA in Project Management. He was one of the founders of the São Paulo PMI Chapter and Financial Director, Administrative Director, member of the Steering Committee from 1998 to 2003. He was vice-coordinator of the Project Management Division of the Engineering Institute of São Paulo from 1998 to 1999. Since 2004 Maurício Lopes has been speaking in project management courses for CPLAN, FATEC, INPG, IETEC and FIA. He has 20 years of experience in project management with main focus in the engineering & construction area. Currently, he is associate director of M2L Project Management (http://www.m2l.com.br/), a company specialized in project management consulting and implementation operating in over 40 large engineering & construction projects. Maurício Lopes is author of articles for Revista Grandes Construções, a magazine specialized in engineering & construction, and he has the main characteristics related to project management – lean, practical and systematic ways. Mauricio is an International Correspondent for PM World in Brazil. He can be contacted at [email protected].

To view other works by Mauricio Lopes, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/mauricio-lopes/