Ethical System Development in Agile Processes

Prof. Dr. Alexander Pretschner, Director of BIDT

2nd December 2020 3pm GMT

Can we do ethical software engineering? As codes of conduct turn out to be, necessarily, too generic, we are looking into more operational perspectives on the subject. Agile development processes are characterized by empowerment of the members of the team and, by design, give them more freedom and decision power than in more traditional development contexts. Within the confines of ethical boundaries imposed by society, and economic needs of the organization they work for, we believe that agile development practices naturally lend themselves to ethics-by-design. We present a structured methodology for ethical considerations, and work in progress on its embedding into the way agile organizations work.


Alexander Pretschner holds the chair for Software Engineering at the Department of Informatics at Technische Universität München (TUM), is the scientific director of fortiss, the Research Institute of the Free State of Bavaria for software-intensive systems, and the founding and executive director of bidt, the Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation. His focus in software engineering is on testing and security.

Professor Pretschner studied computer science at RWTH Aachen and at the University of Kansas where he was a Fulbright Scholar. After obtaining his doctorate at TUM, he worked as a senior researcher at ETH Zurich for five years. Within the framework of the Fraunhofer Attract Program he then moved on to head a research group at the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering in Kaiserslautern. Parallel to this he was an adjunct associate professor at TU Kaiserslautern. Before joining TUM as a full professor in 2012, Professor Pretschner was a full professor of computer science at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

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