What's going on?
Un-tested system is the scenario that is present in the case study and has been used to evaluate its ethical correctness and understand the ethical dilemmas that are involved. In this scenario, Ken, the testing manager of an organization has been approached to make the go-live of a system. Ken; however, refuses to accept the decision as the testing activities are pending. He is being pressurized from the senior management to provide the testing clearance to meet the project release (Youtube, 2017).
What are the facts?
The absence of the execution of testing processes on the system will cause many errors and defects in the form of security attacks, technical and operational failures. The testing manager of the project is aware of the possible outcomes and is being asked to deliver the un-tested product (Jones, 2016).
What are the issues?
Project life cycle includes a number of different phases and activities. Testing process is one of the most important phases that shall be executed with an aim to highlight the defects in the project. The validation and verification processes are included in the testing procedures to make sure that the system is defect free. The defects that are listed are then resolved by the execution and implementation of the fixes. Mapping of the business requirements is also done in the testing activities (Keeble, 2016).
The system as specified in the scenario in the case study is present in the un-tested state. It can, therefore, not be assured that the quality of the system is as per the expectation or not. Also, the fulfillment of all the specifications cannot be guaranteed. There may be issues present in the system in the form of technical, operational, security and quality issues.
Who is affected?
- Project team: The defects and errors that will be highlighted by the client in the later stages will be accountable by the project team members.
- End Users: The users will experience poor system quality and their data will also be unsecured.
- Project Client: The client will experience losses and decreased customer base (Strain, 2007).
What are the ethical issues and their implications?
There are certain ethical elements that must be present in all the project tasks and activities such as honesty, professionalism and so on. The projects are executed in a particular set of processes and events which include testing as a prime phase. Delivery of an un-tested system does not meet the professional ethics. The same is being asked to do in this case by the senior management to meet the customer expectations. However, it is not being realized that meeting this expectation would result in missing out on the others.
There are many ethical theories, principles and guidelines that have been created to analyze an event on the basis of ethical correctness. One of the widely used ethical theories is the theory of Consequentialism. It states that the ethical accuracy and justification can only be confirmed if an act or an event is backed by positive consequences. The consequences that are probable in this case are occurrence of failures in the form of technical, security and operational issues and decreased levels of system quality and performance leading to decreased user satisfaction from the system. These consequences do not have the presence of any positive element and therefore, the act is ethically incorrect (Collste, 2008).
The case is also analyzed from the theory of Deontology Ethics that considers the rules and policies as the guiding force for the ethical justification. The rules of the business projects and professionalism suggest that the projects must meet their objectives by being carried out in a particular order. Also, the rules state that the client must be informed about the project progress and shall be provided with the final delivery that meets all of the project specification, requirements and goals. These rules are being violated in the case of un-tested system and therefore, the act is ethically incorrect.
From the principles of Virtue Ethics, the act has been evaluated as ethically wrong. It is because of the reason that there are negative virtues present such as selfish interests of the senior management and readiness to experience profits at the loss of other parties.
The implications of such ethical issues can be fatal for the organization and the project team as it will bring down the reputation of the organization in the market. Also, the client will have to experience and deal with the complaints of the end-users.
What could have been done about it?
The project should have been validated and verified by the project client after every stage to make sure that the progress was as per the schedule and expectations (Meissner, 2011).
The senior management must have also reviewed the project progress at regular intervals to have informed the client regarding the pending activities to be performed.
What are the options?
- Ken agrees with the decision of the senior management to provide the client with the un-tested system
- Ken resigns from the company
- Ken fights with the senior management to delay the go-live date.
Which option is the best and why?
The third option of fighting with the senior management to delay the go-live date is the recommended option in this case (Schultz, 2006).
The fighting here does not mean to cause physical damage to the senior management. However, it means that Ken must challenge the decision that has been taken by senior management to deliver the un-tested system. Ken must prepare a presentation for the senior management and must organize a meeting with the management along with the project team members. The presentation must highlight the necessity of carrying out the testing activity and the potential implications that may result (McCarthy, 2005).
There may be security, technical, operational and non-operational implications that may result in the form of defects. All the possible defects and the risks along with their likelihood and impact shall also be presented. It will enlighten the senior management with the impact of the decision on the project team and the organization. The alternatives that may be taken shall also be discussed in the form of inclusion of additional project resources in the team or revision of the project roles and responsibilities along with the project schedule.
There shall be assistance acquired from the other senior resources in the organization to deal with the situation in an ethical and professional manner. With the use of this option, the expectations of the client will be met without any violation in terms of ethics and professional code of conduct.
Collste, G. (2008). Global ICTâ€ethics: the case of privacy. Journal Of Information, Communication And Ethics In Society, 6(1), 76-87. https://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14779960810866819
Jones, S. (2016). Doing the right thing: computer ethics pedagogy revisited. Journal Of Information, Communication And Ethics In Society, 14(1), 33-48. https://dx.doi.org/10.1108/jices-07-2014-0033
Keeble, R. (2016). Publication ethics: stressing the positive. Journal Of Information, Communication And Ethics In Society, 14(1), 20-23. https://dx.doi.org/10.1108/jices-10-2015-0037
McCarthy, R. (2005). Information Technology Ethics: A Research Framework. Retrieved 10 August 2017, from https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.103.4577&rep=rep1&type=pdf
Meissner, N. (2011). Forced pirates and the ethics of digital film. Journal Of Information, Communication And Ethics In Society, 9(3), 195-205. https://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14779961111167667
Schultz, R. (2006). Contemporary Issues in Ethics and Information Technology. Retrieved 10 August 2017, from https://ce.sharif.edu/courses/91-92/1/ce347-1/resources/root/ebooksclub.org__Contemporary_Issues_in_Ethics_and_Information_Technology.pdf
Strain, J. (2007). Ethics in the virtual world. Journal Of Information, Communication And Ethics In Society, 5(1), 4-6. https://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14779960710822647
Youtube. (2017). A dilemma in IT: Select action end of video and see its consequence. YouTube. Retrieved 10 August 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mugeCY3vbxo