Privacy concerns may shape the future of project management

Posted by Design & Construct on 17 Aug 2015, 16:02:47

In Architecture, Construction

The issues faced by those in project management roles has evolved over time and perhaps one of the most prominent of recent years has been that of privacy. With companies under mounting pressure to prove that they're doing everything possible to keep data

secure, the need for compliance is running through every stage of an organisation.

So just how important is the issue of privacy? And how project managers ensure it runs through the heart of what they do?

Investing in privacy impact assessments

One measure that project managers can take is to formulate a privacy impact assessment (PIA). As the Office of the Information Commissioner (OAIC) points out, this should identify how each stage of a project might affect people's privacy, while also outlining means of eliminating risk.

Project managers need to be risk-averse.
Project managers need to be risk-averse.

The OAIC stresses that the success of a project often relied on whether or not it meets certain privacy requirements. Failure to take this into account can lead to significant reputational damage that may be difficult to overcome, even on a long term basis.

By failing to carry out a PIA, a project manager runs the risk of facing non-compliance issues, a lack of credibility and even the potential for added costs. In some cases, the OAIC will order for a PIA to be carried out, but this might not always be true. It's therefore the duty of the project manager to make sure the necessary safeguards are put in place.

People expect privacy

Another issue that individuals in project management roles are also likely to come up against is that members of the public expect their data to be kept secure at all times. The same goes for businesses both large and small.

Deloitte recently unveiled its Australian Privacy Index, which showed just how much of an emphasis the public places on information security. Businesses were ranked in order of how their governance policies and procedures were perceived, with government institutions in first place, followed by banking and finance and social media.

One measure that project managers can take is to formulate a privacy impact assessment.

Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim warned earlier this year that as many as 55 per cent of companies' privacy policies do not meet the minimum criteria. They are required to contain certain information that will inform people how their personal data will be dealt with.

As the OAIC indicated, the success or failure of any project can rest with public opinion. It's therefore critical that their expectations are met - which for the moment at least means ensuring privacy policies are in check. Find your next construction & Architecture job.