Case Study – Alex the new Project Manager
Alex has been professionally employed in IT for 10 years. He has worked in various roles including Business Analyst, Programmer and IT Manager. He accepted an offer to join Initech Corp. as Project Manager, responsible for overseeing and ensuring the effective implementation of the company’s internal software projects.
Although Alex has previous experience as an IT Manager, Initech Corp. has an existing IT Manager, Paul, who is responsible for the server and network infrastructure.
Alex is aware that Initech Corp.’s directors are very concerned about intellectual property theft.
They do not want any company data, including software source code, being taken to competing businesses. The software developers complain to Alex that Paul takes pleasure in preventing them from being able to do their work. They state they do not have administrative access on their own computers, preventing them from installing tools and applications, and that they cannot use Print Screen to take screen snapshots for use in manuals or training. As a Project Manager, Alex sees part of his role as removing roadblocks from the developers so they can focus on achieving the business objectives. He speaks with Paul about their concerns. Paul states he is just protecting the company’s interests. He states if someone can use Print Screen they can email company information as a screenshot. He states if the developers have administrative access to their own computers they can run rogue tools to copy source code or do other things.
Alex sees Paul’s views as extreme, but he understands the complexity of the situation. The directors do not want any intellectual property theft, but at the same time, the developers are being hindered from doing their very jobs. It seems the simplest tasks become a struggle because they have many constraints on what they can do.
Alex notes that Initech Corp. requires all employees to sign a confidentiality agreement, and also an acceptable use policy dictating how the computer systems may be used.
While speaking with the developers Alex learns the company website is hosted externally and is available across the Internet. The developers upload new and modified web pages via an FTP client.
As this web server is Internet-accessible, the developers also tell Alex they sometimes upload company source code and documents to the FTP server so they can download them at home. They say they do this because when they have tight deadlines they prefer to work at home near their family than sit in the office until late. They asked Alex not to tell Paul because they are concerned if he knew he would find some way to block this.
What should Alex do now that he has been given this information?
Discuss ethical, professional and legal issues which you consider arise from this scenario. Make some recommendations of actions which could be taken to resolve the situation and/or to minimise the chance the scenario may recur. Support your answers with relevant references (as well as the Codes and Laws).
You should list at least 3 values from the ACS Code of Ethics and up to 5 clauses from the ACS Code of Professional Conduct, you think are specifically relevant in deciding how to resolve the situation. Make sure that you refer to the most up to date ACS Codes which are available on the ACS website – www.acs.org.au.
You should also list any relevant Australian legislation that you think applies to this scenario.
Your analysis, discussion and recommendations should use the framework you selected in Week 3 – Solving an Ethical Dilemma.
Write 400 -500 words in length (excluding your code lists, legislation list and references).