Assignment 1

You work for a large automotive supplies company in the software quality assurance division in Sydney. The company is developing the software for anti-lock brake systems (ABS) and Vehicle Stability Systems. You feel that the testing is not sufficient, but your boss disagrees and makes no changes to the testing system. Frustrated, you take your concerns to the media who publish the allegations. Work is delayed on the project while extra testing is put in place, causing the company to lose their contract. No extra defects were ever found with the extra testing.

CPT310 Assignment 1 March 2011

Andrew Cole S3220162

Table of Contents
Table of Contents ......................................................................................................................i 1. 2. 3. Stakeholders ................................................................................................................... 1 Obligations ...................................................................................................................... 1 Justifications.................................................................................................................... 2

3.1. Taking the story to the media ........................................................................................ 2 3.2. The media publishing the story ...................................................................................... 2 4. Other Considerations ...................................................................................................... 2

Andrew Cole 7208383

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CIS13 January 2011

1. Stakeholders
The stakeholders involved in this scenario are the following:      You, a Quality Assurance employee for the company; Your boss; The company as a whole; The media; and The public.

2. Obligations
In this scenario you have several obligations. First, as a Quality Assurance professional, you have a professional obligation to the public to assure the software you check is of a sufficient quality. This obligation is increased due to the nature of the systems you work on; faulty software in the ABS or VSS component of a vehicle could result in injury and death. Secondly you have an obligation to your boss and the company you work for to assist them in their ultimate goals. In this particular scenario your company was negatively affected by your actions, in that the extra testing required cost money, reducing their profits. Finally you have an obligation to yourself; you have to be able to live with your actions. Your boss has similar obligations. He has an obligation to you as his employee, to enable you to complete your work and support you in it. He has the same obligation to his boss and his company as you do; to assist them in their ultimate goals. The company you both work for has different obligations. The company has an obligation to its shareholders to deliver profit. In order to achieve this most companies consider themselves obligated to the public to provide the best possible service, in order to avoid receiving a bad name. The company would also have obligations under the law to ensure its vehicles are safe. The media has a responsibility to the public to report truthfully on newsworthy events. They also have a responsibility to the public’s safety, which would result in certain stories not being published (stories likely to cause panic for example). As the media is a collection of companies, they have a responsibility to their shareholders and owners to deliver profit. They do this through timely and accurate reporting of the news, which improves their circulation and market share, improving their profits.

Andrew Cole s3220162

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CPT310 March 2011

In considering this scenario the public’s obligations are to operate the vehicles in as safe and efficient manner as possible, and could be considered not relevant to your actions.

3. Justifications
3.1. Taking the story to the media
The twin obligations you have, towards the public’s safety and towards yourself, could compel you to making this story public. If you were certain that by not releasing this information you were putting the public at risk, and that you would not be able to live with the injuries and death that would result, blowing the whistle would be an appropriate response. You could justify your actions by comparing the amount of testing that had been done with what the industry standard would be. Certainly you should ensure that your company has had an appropriate amount of time and been given every opportunity to make a response before you violate their trust.

3.2. The media publishing the story
As outlined above, the media has an obligation to report on newsworthy events. Once they had this story, their obligation to the public’s safety and their obligation to report on the news left them little choice but to publish. Not releasing the information they had could have resulted in buggy software being used and injury and death could have resulted. They had no other means through which they could assure the public’s safety.

4. Other Considerations
The following questions should have (and may have) been raised by the stakeholders in this scenario:    You should have considered if you were appropriately qualified to be making a judgement on whether the testing was sufficient; Your boss should have considered if he was putting the company’s profit above the public safety; The media should have considered: o o o The accuracy of their source (you); Whether they had given all parties a chance to respond; and Whether releasing the story was in the public’s best interests.

Andrew Cole s3220162

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CPT310 March 2011

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