Midterm Exam 1. Which portions of the ACM code are relevant to this case? Code of ethics hold a professional accountable to clients and the public; for this particular case the portions of the ACM code that apply are: 1. 3 Be honest and trustworthy – “A computer professional has a duty to be honest about his or her own qualifications… ” (Association for Computing Machinery). Since my degree and work experience has been focused strictly around the software engineering and IT field, my qualifications and skills to serve as a systems engineer are limited.
Since the contract is focused on a large manufacturing system, the knowledge and experience a systems engineer would need for this project include: requirements engineering, reliability, logistics, testing and evaluation, and maintainability. Skills that I’m lacking for a successful manufacturing system development, design, and implementation. I’ve properly taken the first step, by alerting the marketing director to the promotional literature error, overstating my qualifications.
2. Acquire and maintain professional competence – “Excellence depends on individuals who take responsibility for acquiring and maintaining professional competence. ” (Association for Computing Machinery). For some reason the marketing director listed me as a systems engineer in the promotional literature. Since he is an engineer did he believe that I had the skills necessary to take on a systems engineering role with the firm? Or was there a plan to develop me into a system engineering role that was not communicated?
Nerveless, it’s my responsibility to continually upgrade my skills and competence and I should have started grooming myself for a systems engineering position, by taking classes or seminars, mentoring, on the job training, or combination of all three. 2. 6 Honor contracts, agreements, and assigned responsibilities – “A computing professional has a responsibility to request a change in any assignment that he or she feels cannot be completed as defined. Only after serious consideration and with full disclosure of risks and concerns to the employer or client, should one accept the assignment.
The major underlying principle here is the obligation to accept personal accountability for professional work. ” (Association for Computing Machinery). I would have a candid discussion with my manager and the marketing manager to identify what my roles and responsibilities would be for the client meeting, I would re-iterate what my skill set is and after the meeting make a determination on whether I felt confident in my abilities to adequately support. If I would accept the assignment, I would be fully aware and accept the responsibility for the consequences.
If I didn’t feel comfortable I would ask my manager for assistance form one of the other more experienced systems engineers on staff or would regretfully decline supporting the client meeting based on the ACM code of ethics. 3. 4 Ensure that users and those who will be affected by a system have their needs clearly articulated during the assessment and design of requirements; later the system must be validated to meet requirements – “Current system users, potential users and other persons whose lives may be affected by a system must have their needs assessed and incorporated in the statement of requirements.
System validation should ensure compliance with those requirements. ” (Association for Computing Machinery). If I were to accept the assignment to support the client meeting, I would have to conduct some research prior and ensure that the requirements were well defined. I would benchmark similar contracts that the firm had bid and won. I would also hold peer reviews with the other system engineers on staff to ensure no critical requirements were inadvertently missed during this definition phase.
4. Uphold and promote the principles of this Code – “The future of the computing profession depends on both technical and ethical excellence. Not only is it important for ACM. computing professionals to adhere to the principles expressed in this Code, each member should encourage and support adherence by other members. ” (Association for Computing Machinery). Since the team members are engineers that are employed by the same consulting firm, each would follow one of the engineering codes of ethics available.
If I were to decline supporting the meeting in the role of systems engineer and I stated my reasons why based on the ACM code of ethics, my manager and the marketing director should respect and support my decision by encouraging adherence to the code. 2. Why do you think the error was not corrected? The marketing director potentially has a self-interest impediment regarding the success of the new marketing campaign. To correct the error, he would have to spend additional funds to have the literature re-printed with the corrections which could require approval from his manager.
In addition, his main focus is to obtain new customers and contracts; while revising some brochures with a correct name of an individual is lower on his list of priorities. The success of the new marketing campaign could also have an impact on his future promotions and / or bonuses, so the primary focus will be to drive in new business opportunities for the firm. Another possibility, is the marketing director was fearful of acknowledging his mistake. How would this error be perceived by his manager?
This was a very small detailed that was overlooked, what other errors or items were missed in this campaign? He could also be ignorant to the vital information, such that he assumed that I was a systems engineer. Or he could also be exhibiting egocentric tendencies, even though I had requested he make the correction, six months later it still was not completed. He could have taken the perspective that this error was so minor that it would not have an impact on his overall campaign or success, so no correction was needed and I felt the same, even though I requested the correction.
He did not take into account my perspective that I felt I was not qualified to be classified as a systems engineer. 3. Under the given circumstances, what actions should you take in this situation? This is one of the most common ethical dilemmas – conflict problem; one in which an engineer’s obligation to an employer conflict with obligations to the client or public. These obligations are stated in standards of responsibility; one is known as the NSPE Code of Ethics. “Canon 1: Hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public in the performance of their professional duties.
Canon 4: Act in professional matters for each employer or client as faithful agent or trustees. ” Although my obligation to the client is vital, I should also honor my obligation to the firm. Some imaginative options I could pursue are: 1. ) I could approach my manager and suggest, in a tactful way, that I’m uncomfortable about the fact that I’m filling the sole systems engineer role for the meeting with the client. I would point out that it’s not in the firm’s best interest, not to make available their best systems engineer for the meeting.
2. I could talk to others at the firm with whom I have a good working relationship with and ask them to help persuade my manager to send one of the firms more experienced systems engineers. 3. ) I could have a candid conversation with my manager and let him/her know that I can not support the client meeting because it’s beyond my abilities and experience and that I might have to consider changing jobs. 4. ) I could find another job and keep the information about the firms conduct to myself, possibly allow the practice to continue with another under qualified or less experienced engineer.
5. could support the client meeting without protest. 6. ) I could let the client know that I’m not qualified to support the meeting in the systems engineering role Finding a creative middle ground, option 1 is the one I should try first, and the second option is a suitable choice if the first is ineffective. Options 3, 4 and 5 are unjustifiable because they do not protect the client, while option 6 does not act as a faithful agent. My obligation-responsibility require, not only adhering to regulatory norms and standard practices of engineering, but also satisfying the standard of reasonable care.
The inexperienced I have as a systems engineer would have a level of quality of service that was below that of normally competent systems engineers, not fulfilling the ethical requirements of the standard of care. Assuming the of duties of “System engineer” would entail me to perform the required services at least ordinarily and reasonably well, holding me accountable; and if not done, it could leave the firm and myself legally liable, for intentionally, negligently, and recklessly causing harm. 4. Should you inform the client that you are unqualified?
Or what should you do? I would approach my manager and suggest, in the most tactful way, that I’m uncomfortable about the fact that I’m filling the sole systems engineer role for the meeting with the client. I would point out that it’s not in the firm’s best interest, not to make available their best systems engineer for the meeting. If this approach was unsuccessful, I would talk to others at the firm with whom I have a good working relationship with and ask them to help persuade my manager to send one of the firms more experienced systems engineers.
If both of those approaches failed and I was sent by the firm to the client meeting, then my last approach would be to accurately state my qualifications and experience to the client and let them decide if they feel my qualifications serve their needs as the systems engineer on their project. The client’s vote of confidence, however, would not relieve me of being responsible or accountable for the work I would accomplish, nor the behaviors I use to accomplish it.