Quality in spirit, not process

Excerpt from Wikipedia on Quality:

Quality is a perceptual, conditional and somewhat subjective attribute and may be understood differently by different people. Consumers may focus on the specification quality of a product/service, or how it compares to competitors in the marketplace.

Quality, as mentioned above, is a very subjective concept. In the IT field, however, it is usually as perceived by the consumers of the software that is written.

Hence, we have to put ourselves in the shoes of the consumers and think how is he going to value this product that we plan to give him. Few questions that come to mind are:

  • Is the product usable for his requirements?
  • If I was the consumer, will I use this product over the others that are available in the market?
  • Is the user-experience good?

If any of the answers to the ones asked above are negative, it means that the product has to go a long way in meeting the expectations.

Obviously, quality can improve over time. Hence, it is very important for one to set the expectations accordingly. If the customer has early access to the product, he might not feel happy always. He will have huge expectations about the product, which might not be feasible at an early stage.

If the customer is expecting a car that will run at a speed of 200 miles per hour, we should probably let him know that by the end of first phase, it will run at 100 mph and then in the next few months, we will increase the speed to 200 mph gradually.

Very often, I notice that organizations go for adopting the latest Quality processes (CMM, Six Sigma, et al). I am not even doubting these at all. The adoption of these processes varies due to various reasons. Hence, it becomes more of a irritable chore than a disciplined effort.

What is the way out then?

One should imbibe quality in spirit first. This has to be visible in every action the person does in his profession. Then, the process compliance happens naturally. There is no additional effort put in to meet the end-goals. Only then, the end-product will have the look-and-feel expected.

What do you think about Quality? What comes to your mind when you hear of Quality.

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