Project management software

Introduction

With the drastic  development in the commercial setting, information system (IS) departments endure diverse challenges with the key issues pointed out to be IT integration with business practices, applying novel IT technologies productively and efficiently, and finally, designing and incorporating  information architecture (Al-A’ali, 2008). Essentially, with most organizations using IT as a nourishing force to contend the competitive verge, connecting IT with activities with the organization has started receiving the most attention from IS managers. Examining the efficiency of IT service elements is turning out to be more and more imperative and to meet the mounting user demands business organisations have allotted sky-scraping investments to IT (Mingers & Walsham, 2010). Yet, the determinants often evaluate IT efficiency established on products more than on services, and as a result, they offer conflicting information for decision-making. In essence, quality may lead to a competitive advantage for business organisations, due to delineation attributes, but, the competitive advantage of the business organisation begin in its inner processes, which are as well the administration of intra-organisational demands requirements, such as those based on IT services. Behind the approaches utilised to develop information systems (IS), lie several clear and absolute hypothesis and views. Even though, the optional hypothesis and views provide a basis to guide the IS developer in selecting diverse analysis design, and incorporating alternative; thus, it possess crucial consequences for successful system development, and rarely look critically challenged or reflected (Strode et al., 2012). In this regard, the need to analyse the underlying hypothesis of information systems development (ISD) has begun to be identified in most academic literatures.

 

Benefits of Using Agile Methods in Development of Project management software

The fundamental delivery principle of agile methods is that even though some agile methods vary to some extent in their practices, every one of them supports these fundamental principles; continuous enhancement, collaboration and iterative and incremental delivery. According to Chan and Thong (2009), agile project delivery is fractioned into diminutive functional editions or increments to administer risk as well to obtain quick response from the client and users. In essence, these diminutive editions are delivered on a plan through iterations that classically endure 7-28 days each. Fundamentally, all iterations are set to equivalent span to get the most out of response and frequently coerce the transactions needed to deliver; also they are fixe to preserve constancy. Strode et al. (2012) posit that specifications, schedules, design, examinations and rules are generated at the outset and restructured in an incremental manner as desirable to become accustomed to changes within the project.

 Every software development team members together with a potential client are co-located in a mutual, open domain to make possible in person communication and carry out communications. According to Strode et al. (2012), devoted space is offered for standard operation, unprepared conventions, design conferences and other official and unofficial group behavior. What’s more, members of the team self-organize by incessantly finishing assignments in a collaborative manner devoid of top-down administration regulation (Strode et al., 2012).  Chan and Thong (2009) are of the view that practices that facilitate examination of delivery process are incorporated into agile methods. Besides that, Project Reflections are conventions carried out even as the project is in progress to make possible habitual manifestation on its achievements and breakdowns, as well as any of the paraphernalia and methods used. Strode et al. (2012) argues that day after day standup summits offer a chance to trade important information and to modify enhancements incessantly.

Ethical and Legislative Aspects in Project management software

According to Al-A’ali (2008), the responsibility of computing professions resembles the responsibility of technical profession such as mechanical engineers. In this regard, when the obligations of computing and technical professions are taken together they form professional ethics. Fundamentally, ethical responsibility has been studies by diverse philosophers who together with religious leaders have articulated it for many years. Forester and Morrison (2001) posits that the ethical responsibility of a computing profession traverse beyond consent with regulatory laws since these laws frequently lag behind technology advances. For instance, prior to enactment of 1968 U.S electronic communication privacy act, government officials had the power to gather personal information conveyed over computer communication networks even without search warrants (Towell et al., 2009). However, even with lack of privacy laws before 1968, Lewis et al. (2012) believes that computing professions should have been conscious of their responsibility to safeguard the personal information privacy. According to Jim and Steinke (2008), computer profession entails software developers, database administrators, hardware designers, and computer scientists. 

Moral Obligation in Computing

Essentially, in early 80s, atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) produced and sold Therac-25, which was a cancer radiation machine that relied on computer software to execute its functionality.  Statistics indicate that amid 1985 and 1987, the machine caused the deaths of three patients and a similar number endured serious injuries (Mingers & Walsham, 2010). Based on this perspective, the big question that disturbed most people was who to blame, wherein some blamed the operator who gave the massive radiation overdoses that generated  severe burns, other blame the software developers who designed and  examined the control software, which possessed numerous errors (Qureshi, 2001). For others, they blamed the system engineers who ignored to install the backup hardware security mechanisms that had been utilized previously. In Tavani (2003) point of view, obligation can be characterized to causes; for instance, a tornado is accountable for damaging houses and property; this, in Therac-25 case, the closest cause of the accidents was the machine operator, who commenced the radiation treatment. However, just as weather it cannot be denounced for a moral failure since Therac-25 operators cannot be accused because they pursued standard routine, and the data displayed on computer screen was cryptic and deceive. According to Tavani (2003), an individual who is obligated to a function or task is observed as someone accountable for that role. In this regard, a supervisor in a chemical plant maybe accountable for regulating disposal of toxic waste drums from the firm’s plant to the truck. Thus, based on the Therac-25 case, the system engineers and software developers are accountable of writing and designing the hardware and software of the machine (Thomson & Schmoldt, 2001). In such an extent as their shortcomings, they were accountable for these shortcomings because of their roles and obligations.

Mingers and Walsham (2010) assert that though the above computing professions had finished their obligated tasks, their role obligation may have failed to encompass the full range of their professional responsibilities. Al-A’ali (2008) is of the view that a person or a company can be accountable or liable, for the problem such as that of Therac-25 such that the company being liable for damages based on a civil lawsuit. Based
on legal responsibility, AECL could have been sued because the legal obligation is a strict liability, which holds the product manufacture liable if their product injures the end-user, regardless of whether the product met all vital safety standards. Arguably, Towell et al. (2009), claims that strict liability principle inspires manufacturers to be more careful, and offers a way to compensate accidents victims. In Clark (2012) study, legal and casual responsibilities tend to be snobbish: if a person is accountable, then another automatically is not. Contrary, moral responsibility tends to be mutual in that software developers are accountable for the safety of the designed product, and not just an obligated safety engineer. Thomson and Schmoldt (2001) are of the opinion that a responsible individual should be careful, trustworthy, and considerate. Furthermore, responsibility is shared when several individuals join as a group such as software engineering team, whereby the moral responsibility is atomized to the extent at which no one in the group is accountable. Instead, each group member is responsible to the other group members, those whom the group’s product may influence, individual personal action, and impact of their gathered effort.

 For instance, assuming a team based on computer network monitoring make a mistake in a sophisticated statistical analysis of network traffic information, and that these errors have altered the interpretation of the reported outcomes. In this regard, if the members of the team fail to reanalyse the information themselves, they have a responsibility to seek statistician assistance who can examine the information precisely (Jim & Steinke, 2008). Technically, different members of the team might work with the statistician distinctively, but should hold each other responsible for their personal roles in correcting errors. Mingers and Walsham (2010) believe that moral responsibility for negligence and recklessness is not appeased by the availability of essential intentions or by lack of harmful consequences. For instance, a software tester ignores to examine a novel module for a telephone switching system adequately and afterwards the module fails. Even though, the perusing telephone services pause are not intended, the computing profession is accountable for the outcome resulted by the pause (Towell et al., 2009). In addition, suppose a hacker deliberately installs a keystroke logging program in trying to get users passwords at a company or government’s computer. Even though, the program may fail to function, the hacker will morally remain accountable for trying to invade the user’s privacy.  Primarily, an individual can be accounted morally both for acting and failure to act; for instance, a hardware engineer may note a design error that could cause a severe electrical shock to the user opening a computer to replace a faulty microchip. In this regard, even though the hardware engineer is not obligated to examine the safety of electrical system unit, the engineer is morally accountable for indicating the design flaw; hence, the engineer could be held accountable for failing to act (Jim Nindel-Edwards & Steinke, 2008). Essentially, computing systems frequently hinder accountability, especially in embedded systems like Therac-25, whereby the computer that regulates the system is hidden. According to Thomson and Schmoldt (2001), computer users seem abdicate to receiving defects in software and computers that results to intermittent collapse and loss of information.

Ethics Derived from Project management software

Every progress in IT is attached to at least one ethical uncertainty. Basically, issues lying beneath IT include provision of ethical duty and fulfilling end user’s anticipation to use applications responsibly. According to Qureshi (2001) ethics in IT concentrates on issues such as privacy, property and ownership rights, software piracy and computer hacking. Qureshi (2001) defined ethics as a set of principles of right conduct. In this regard, ethical involves abiding to the standards of conduct of a given group. Moreover, ethical dilemma is a complex situation that entails mental conflict, where two sides argue about what is wrong, and what is right. Qureshi (2001)posited that, ethical dilemmas enormously affect businesses especially small-scale enterprises that do not less capital to deal with the ethical dilemmas in technology utilization. Qureshi (2001) observed that, the dilemmas in software project management include illegal use of software’s and usage of open-source code without crediting its source. Developing new software requires time and effort. Unfortunately, most software developers are given a small window and compressed budget to release a quality software package, this pressure hinders the goal of achieving a bug free product at a low cost and on time (Forester & Morrison, 2001). Due to a small window of time and strained budget, software developers have been tempted to use illegal and unethical acts to achieve their goals. However, code of conducts provided by IT profession societies has managed to address these ethical issues. According to Forester and Morrison (2001), facts’ researching enhances quality decision making, since it assist the decision maker to understand the outcome in advance. It is weird for someone to make an unworthy decisions especially when faced with a moral dilemma. Forester and Morrison (2001) observed that,   when a software developer acquires a set of ethical standards, he could manage to overcome difficult standards. Ethics in software development enhances awareness and self-reflection (Jim & Steinke, 2008, p.54). However, lack of enough money and time shortage has led to development of low quality software’s, which in turn has created ethical dilemmas in the software project management. Jim and Steinke (2008) posited that, lack of capital has pushed software developers to use illegal software. IT professions branded this unethical act ‘piracy’. Qureshi (2001) defined piracy as, an illegal copying of a software package. When a company uses a pirated software package, then it violates the software license. Piracy has created an ethical dilemma in software project managements. It is worth noting that software piracy has been recorded in some huge companies, where they use copies of pirated software (Forester & Morrison, 2001). According to dailytech.com, software companies globally lose approximate $50.4 billion due to software piracy. The survey conducted by IDC and Business Software Alliance noted that, for every $100 legal software sold another $75 pirated software was being sold. From the above statistics, it worth observing that software piracy is a crucial ethical dilemma that hurts both the IT sector and software companies. However, Business Software Alliance a software watch group is working effortlessly to reduce software piracy temptation (Towell et al., 2009).

Another ethical dilemma facing software project management is the reversing of engineering code. According to Thomson and Schmoldt (2001), reverse engineering is the most confusing and disputable subject in both the IT sector and software development world. Thomson and Schmoldt (2001) defines reverse engineering as, a process of learning technological principles of an application through analysis of its structure to reveal the source code. Software developers crack software to reveal how the software program can perform an action. Software reverse engineering is illegal since it removes the program security. IT experts call it ‘cracking’. At this note, cracking makes the software program function differently from the original intended means. In 2003, US courts ruled that software reverse engineering is legal. However, Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) prohibits software reverse engineering. DMCA indicates that ‘cracking’ is an act of circumventing technological rights of the copyright owners. According
to DMCA, circumventing involves copying media, software reverse engineering and decoding encryption tools. For instance, in 1997 Sony woo Connectix for cracking Sony play station games from their systems. Sony had filed a complaint alleging that Connectix had violated its copyright infringement. Connectix had created an emulator allowing Apple’s Macintosh users to play Sony’s play station games. Even though the court ruled in favour of Connectix, citing Connectix cracking was reasonable. Sony in its part was awarded an injunction barring Connectix from selling the controversial virtual game station for both windows and Macintosh. In addition, Connectix was blocked from using Sony BIOS code when developing Virtual Game station for windows (Forester & Morrison, 2001). The ethical dilemma in software reverse engineering takes place when another software company develops software that is

Role of IT Professionals in Development of Project management software

Software systems are highly complex in both the development process and manufacture of the product based on the increased demand of more heterogeneous, networked and distributed systems (Tavani, 2003). Therefore, two impacts of software complexity in respect to ethical responsibility come into limelight; first, is that ethical responsibility is shared among a large group of individuals, from requirements engineer up to the software architect, from software designer to software tester, and far and beyond the financial budget, in case they fail to meet the required deadline. Therefore, in case of human life in all aspects depends on properly working software systems and being delivered on time; thus, there should be a precise distribution of ethical responsibility among various roles within the development process. Secondly, complexity of software systems renders the impacts of software engineers to be much more uncertain and thus a consequentiality analysis of responsibility is much more difficult (Forester & Morrison, 2001).essentially, everyone would be much happier in case there is a perfect way to predict behaviour of software systems although they are not from mechanical world of perfect billiard-balls. Nevertheless, software engineering fails to provide a setting in which formal proofs can be done to ascertain efficient functioning of software subsystems or systems. Therefore, in many instances, they are not proven formally, because there is no means, but they are rather tested. In case, clients requires perfect software without any bugs, there would be no software to be developed and delivered ever in contrast to increased demand of software systems in the society. In this regard, the unpredictability and imperfection of software systems relates to the nature of software engineering profession and this is recognized both at the social and public level. However, there should be boundaries that limit the extent to which ethical responsibility of software engineers (Jim & Steinke, 2008).

Conclusion

In conclusion, Computing professions conduct diverse tasks such as writing specifications for novel computer systems, designing instruction pipelines for processors such as superscalar, testing and validating software systems and diagnosing timing anomalies in systems embedded. Besides, ethical responsibility of a computing profession traverse beyond consenting with regulatory laws since these laws frequently lag behind technology advances. Consequently, ethical dilemmas in the software project management can lead to ramifications such as court fines, or ruin company reputation. Dilemmas such as piracy reverse software reverse engineering and flawed software’s cannot be solved easily. They require high-level decision-making. Therefore, software companies should ensure that software’s produced are perfect in quality and should facilitate public awareness to inform the public about the new software. In order to achieve all this, the software companies should strictly adhere to the set code of ethics. In addition, they should publish ethics guidelines concerning the software developed and leave a small room for interpretation.

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References

Al-A’ali, M., 2008. Computer ethics for the computer professional from an Islamic point of view. Journal of Information, Communication & Ethics in Societ, 6(1), pp.28-45.

Chan, F.K.Y. & Thong, J.Y.L., 2009. Acceptance of agile methodologies: A critical review and conceptual framework. Decision Support Systems, 46(4), pp.803-14.

Forester, T. & Morrison, P., 2001. COMPUTER ETHICS: CAUTIONARY TALES and Ethical Dillemas in Computing. Harvard Journal of Law & Technology, 4, pp.300-01.

Jim, N.-E. & Steinke, G., 2008. Ethical Issues in the Software Quality Assurance Function. Communications of the IIMA, 8(1), pp.53-II.

Mingers, J. & Walsham, G., 2010. TOWARD ETHICAL INFORMATION SYSTEMS: THE CONTRIBUTION OF DISCOURSE ETHICS. MIS Quarterly, 34(4), p.833.

Qureshi, S., 2001. How Practical is a Code of Ethics for Software Engineers Interested in Quality? Qureshi, Shoaib, 9(3), pp.153-59.

Strode, D.E., Huff, S.L., Hope, B. & Link, S., 2012. Coordination in co-located agile software development projects. The Journal of Systems and Software, 85(6), pp.1222–38.

Tavani, H.T., 2003. Ethical reflections on the digital divide. Journal of Information, Communication & Ethics in Society, 1(2), pp.99-103.

Thomson, A.J. & Schmoldt, D.L., 2001. Ethics in computer software design and Development. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 30, pp.85-102.

Towell, E., Thompson, J.B. & McFadden, K.L., 2009. Introducing and Developing Professional Standards in the Information Systems Curriculum. Ethics and Information Technology, 6(4), p.291.

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Benefits of Using Agile Methods in Development of Project management software
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