SPA Conference session: Ethics and professionalism. The current state of affairs

One-line description:A brainstorming about the role of ethics and professionalism in software development
Session format: Goldfish bowl (75 mins) [read about the different session types]
Abstract:We know how important software is in the modern world. Almost every thing we use nowadays has some software running inside.

However, writing code is not a profession--there aren't laws (in most countries) that require training or any formal qualification to be allowed to do that--and, as a result, programmers are not bound to abide to any code of ethics, and are rarely legally responsible for damages caused by their code.

Also, according to some, software projects are riddled with unethical behaviour (see and the "The Dark Side of Software Engineering" book by Robert Glass).

This session aims at exploring this subject further, at shedding some light at what the current situation really is, and at proposing some possible ways to alleviate the problems we are facing.
Audience background:Everybody involved in the production of software at all levels.
Benefits of participating:Ideally, after the session the participants should have a better appreciation of the issues around ethics and professionalism and the impact they may have in they daily jobs.
Materials provided:Nothing specific. Only some information to get the conversation started
Process:A goldfish bowl. I'll take some notes to use to produce the outputs later.
Detailed timetable:I will give a short introduction to the session, using also some of the outputs from the ACCU conference and then get the conversation started giving the stage to the seed group
Outputs:The outputs will probably be on my blog. The content will be a summary of the discussion along with an exploration of the most interesting points
History:This session will be presented (in a slightly different format) at ACCU 2012. The idea is to take some of the outputs from the ACCU session to seed the discussion at SPA
1. Giovanni Asproni
Asprotunity Limited
2. 3.