1.1. Software Design Testing

This case is derived from a case considered by the NSPE Board of Ethical Review

Your team is employed by a software company and is involved in the design of specialized software in connection with the operations of nuclear, air quality control, water quality control, and similar facilities. As part of the design of a particular software system, your team conducts extensive testing, and although the tests demonstrate that the software is safe to use under existing standards, you are aware of new draft standards that are about to be released by a standard setting organization – standards which the newly designed software may not meet.

Testing is extremely costly and the company’s clients are eager to begin to move forward. The software company is eager to satisfy its clients, protect the software company’s finances, and protect existing jobs; but at the same time, the management of the software company wants to be sure that the software is safe to use.

A series of tests proposed by your team will likely result in a decision whether to move forward with the use of the software. The tests are costly and will delay the use of the software at least six months, which will put the company at a competitive disadvantage and cost the company a significant amount of money. Also, delaying implementation will mean the state public service commission utility rates will rise significantly during this time.

The company requests your team’s recommendation concerning the need for additional software testing.

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The Primacy of the Public by Marcus Schultz-Bergin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.