Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable.

- Peter Drucker

Fairness. Honesty. Respect. Confidence. Trust.

Perhaps because software extends into so many core area of our lives -- financial transactions, medical records, personal privacy, flight controls, our automobiles -- the software industry has been quick to recognize the ethical impacts of engineering decisions.

The three cornerstones of the software industry have codes of ethics with strong similarities. Here are some excerpts.

IEEE Code of Ethics

We, the members of the IEEE, in recognition of the importance of our technologies in affecting the quality of life throughout the world, and in accepting a personal obligation to our profession, its members and the communities we serve, do hereby commit ourselves to the highest ethical and professional conduct and agree:

  1. to accept responsibility in making engineering decisions consistent with the safety, health and welfare of the public, and to disclose promptly factors that might endanger the public or the environment;
  2. to avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest whenever possible, and to disclose them to affected parties when they do exist;
  3. to be honest and realistic in stating claims or estimates based on available data;
  4. to reject bribery in all its forms;
  5. to improve the understanding of technology, its appropriate application, and potential consequences;
  6. to maintain and improve our technical competence and to undertake technological tasks for others only if qualified by training or experience, or after full disclosure of pertinent limitations;
  7. to seek, accept, and offer honest criticism of technical work, to acknowledge and correct errors, and to credit properly the contributions of others;
  8. to treat fairly all persons regardless of such factors as race, religion, gender, disability, age, or national origin;
  9. to avoid injuring others, their property, reputation, or employment by false or malicious action;
  10. to assist colleagues and co-workers in their professional development and to support them in following this code of ethics.

PMI MEMBER Code of Ethics

As a professional in the field of project management, PMI members pledge to uphold and abide by the following:

  • I will maintain high standards of integrity and professional conduct.
  • I will accept responsibility for my actions.
  • I will continually seek to enhance my professional capabilities.
  • I will practice with fairness and honesty
  • I will encourage others in the profession to act in an ethical and professional manner.

· PMI Members will respect and protect the intellectual property rights of others, and will properly disclose and recognize the professional, intellectual, and research contributions of others.

· PMI Members will not take personal, business, or financial advantage of confidential or private information acquired during the course of their professional relationships, nor will they provide such information to others.

· PMI Members will perform their work consistent and in conformance with professional standards to ensure that the public is protected from harm.

ASQ Code of Ethics

To uphold and advance the honor and dignity of the profession, and in keeping with high standards of ethical conduct I acknowledge that I:

  • Will be honest and impartial, and will serve with devotion my employer, my clients, and the public.
  • Will strive to increase the competence and prestige of the profession.
  • Will use my knowledge and skill for the advancement of human welfare, and in promoting the safety and reliability of products for public use.
  • Will do whatever I can to promote the reliability and safety of all products that come within my jurisdiction.
  • Will indicate to my employer or client the adverse consequences to be expected if my professional judgment is overruled.
  • Will take care that credit for the work of others is given to those whom it is due.