RE: Real-World Ethical Questions

Subject: RE: Real-World Ethical Questions
From: "Robert Plamondon" <robert -at- plamondon -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2003 09:46:03 -0700

John Posada writes:
>I think this is ill-advised.

>To do this requires the following:
>1 An exceptional understand of exactly what it is in the interface that
>makes you absolutely positive that the security breach applies to your
>product, in the exact situation it is being used, with no possibility that
>it isn't addressed by some other means some other place in the application.

This was taken as a given from the problem, as presented.

>2 The mandate from the stakeholder of this product that it falls under your

I've always worked at companies where the success of the product was
considered to be everyone's responsibility.

>3 The knowledge that your sources of information that will dry up because
>everyone's going to avoid telling you anything for fear that you'll decide
>you don't like something for whatever reason and will become that point's

I'm not really a knight errant, I'm more like a bird dog. I point, they
shoot. Or not. It's up to them.

>4 The knowledge that when they fire your butt for sticking your nose where
>it doesn't belong and having customers cancel orders, you will have enough
>money saved to handle the long period of unemployment.

No doubt this is true in places that are highly politicized, where the
success of the product is secondary at best, and where departments lie to
one another as a matter of course. I've never worked in such places or had
such problems. I've mostly worked at companies were the success of the
product was the main thing, and unintentionally poor interdepartmental
communications were one of the biggest obstacles to efficient execution.

Perhaps it's my years of management, but whenever a new fact crops up, one
of the first questions I ask myself is, "Who needs to know?" Often companies
execute badly because no one asked themselves this question, and people who
are vitally interested don't find out until it's too late for them to react
properly. No one is more aware of this than managers, and by and large they
like it when someone else tries to keep their interests in mind. I suppose
that this practice is of little use in highly politicized or paranoid
companies, where mentioning a disturbing fact to a sales manager is an act
of treason, but I've received nothing but praise for it. When writing a
technical or marketing document, I have to talk to people in different
departments. I try to pay attention to their needs, and often this reveals
some information that's not clear to those who spend all their time in a
single department.

-- Robert
Robert Plamondon
President, High-Tech Technical Writing
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com
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RE: Real-World Ethical Questions: From: John Posada

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