Discuss about the Dilemma in IT Implementing a System.
IT professional (Ken) is required to make a system go live without complete testing as the responsible person is unavailable; the main issue for consideration.
- The responsible person for testing is unavailable
- Ken was not responsible for testing of the system
- The customer, based on a contract, expects the system to go live by a certain day (Monday)
- Ken’s superiors want the system to go live by Monday, even if testing is incomplete
- Ken, therefore, has to make a decision, bearing in mind the ethical issues surrounding the case (Al-Saggaf, 2016)
Issues Surrounding the case
The case is impacted by various ethical and non-ethical issues;
The ethical issues include professionalism on the part of Ken that the system should only go live after being tested.
Duty is also another ethical issue; Ken has a duty to the boss and organization to implement the system while the boss has a duty to fulfill the promises made to the customer
Integrity is also another issue; does Ken make the system live knowing very well it has not been tested?
The non-ethical issues pertaining to the case include;
Financial; the organization has made a commitment to a customer, who is financially obligated to pay the organization, which in turn profits or makes money after receiving payment based on delivering on the customer needs
There is also a legal aspect in that the system must be delivered to meet the needs of the customer, and this requires that it must perform as expected; an issue that can only be confirmed after testing. If the system goes live before testing and problems come up, the company could be held legally liable
Practicality; it may not be practical, as Ken protests, to have the system live and work as expected according to the given deadline, especially if testing has to be done
The affected parties
Ken is directly affected by the boss’ directive and ethical as well as non ethical issues since he must make a decision. The boss is affected in that he has made a promise to the customer with legal and financial implications to deliver a functional system by a certain date and is keen to keep this promise. The customer is highly affected by the issue, as are any other clients that may use the system procured by the customer; the system must be deployed within a given time frame and must work according to specifications. This means it will affect the general public at large while the reputation of the organization will also come into question. Further, the entire computer industry will be affected on the grounds that the customer and the wider public will believe standards are not being enforced on quality and adherence to set ethical and non-ethical guidelines
Ethical issues and implications
Professionalism: According to the ACS code, professionalism is essential in enhancing the integrity of the computing society and respecting all its members. All ICT must maintain professionalism, otherwise the reputation of the ACS and all its members, and by extension the public and consumers will be adversely impacted; for instance, poor product delivery will degrade the trust and belief in the professionalism and competence of Australian Computer professionals (‘Australian Computer Society,’ n.d). Among the reasons given for unethical behavior among ICT professionals in Australia include pressure, greed, bad management, and disrespect towards ICT issues (Al-Saggaf & Weckert, 2015).
Integrity: This relates to the primacy of public interest, honesty, and the enhancement of quality of life as stipulated in the ACS. Ken must exercise integrity by ensuring that a system that has not been tested. A failure in integrity will result in the quality of life of the public being degraded in terms of poorly developed systems (Weckert & Lucas, 2013).
Duty: This relates to competence and processional development; a failure in duty will negate the ACS code of professional development as it means Ken will not be helping the professional development of a colleague that was tasked with testing the system. Huge amounts are spent in ICT systems; unfortunately, their envisaged benefits are never realized due to poor implementation, including lack of proper testing and adjusting (Mosweu, Bwalya & Mutshewa, 2016). gaps in design and reality has been identified as a major cause of e-government project failures (Anthopoulos, Reddick, Giannakidou & Mavridis, 2015).
What can be done
- Ken to go ahead and make the system live without testing, cognizant of the legal and financial/ economic interests of the organization
- Ken to undertake minimal testing of the system and make it go live
- Ken ignores the instruction and explains why he did so
- Resign from the job in order to avoid responsibility for any eventualities
Ken makes the system go live as directed; and hopes it does not have major issues, but in the event it does, Ken and team develop patches or solutions on the fly, with the system implemented in stages, much like agile development in which issues are solved as they come, incrementally (Eardley & Uden, 2011). This will entail an early launch of bare minimum system components as issues are identified and solved and incremental implementation done
Ken can ignore the instructions, and following the ACS code and professional values, and refuse to implement the untested system and then explain to his superiors why it is a bad idea, given many users could be affected, resulting in loss of reputation and possible legal consequences. Ken can then use this to ask his managers to give a time extension
Resign from the job to avoid the almost inevitable ethical and non ethical consequences of making the system go live without sufficient testing
Ken should ‘fight back’; refuse to implement the system and make it live and call management and explain why that decision has been taken. This is because even if he does minimal testing, the system may still encounter huge pitfalls that also lead to ethical and non ethical consequences. This is the same outcome expected if he implements the system without complete testing (Hongladarom & Ess, 2007)
Al-Saggaf, Y. (2016). A dilemma in IT: Select action end of video and see its consequence. [video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mugeCY3vbxo [Accessed 10 Aug. 2017].
Al-Saggaf, Y., Burmeister, O., & Weckert, J. (January 01, 2015). Reasons behind unethical behaviour in the australian ict workplace an empirical investigation. Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, 13, 235-255.'Australian Computer Society' (n.d.). ACS Code of Ethics. [online] Australian Computer Society. Available at: https://www.acs.org.au/content/dam/acs/acs-documents/Code-of-Ethics.pdf [Accessed 10 Aug. 2017].
Anthopoulos, L., Reddick, C. G., Mavridis, N., & Giannakidou, I. (January 01, 2016). Why e- government projects fail? An analysis of the Healthcare.gov website. Government Information Quarterly, 33, 1, 161-173.
Eardley, A., & Uden, L. (2011). Innovative knowledge management: Concepts for organizational creativity and collaborative design. Hershey, Pa: Engineering Science Reference.
Hongladarom, S., & Ess, C. (2007). Information technology ethics: cultural perspectives. Hershey,Pa: Idea Group Reference.
Mosweu, O., Bwalya, K., & Mutshewa, A. (March 21, 2016). Examining factors affecting the adoption and usage of document workflow management system (DWMS) using the UTAUT model: Case of Botswana. Records Management Journal, 26, 1, 38-67.
Weckert, J., & Lucas, R. (2013). Professionalism in the information and communication technology industry. Canberra, ACT: Australian National University E Press.