(At an Agile training course near you)
P.: What is “Quality”?
Student: It doesn’t matter.
P.: What do you mean?
Student: People can’t tell the difference.
P.: Can you tell the difference between stepping into a Ford Fiesta and an Aston Martin?
Common Sense Goes on Holiday
This brief exchange is taken from a real life conversation. At the time, everyone else in the class was at least surprised, if not bemused, by their colleague’s curious response.
It’s a good example of how some people would rather be stubborn than right.
Riddle Me This
It’s Monday and I’m snowed in at home. As I stare out at my 4 ft snowman, I find myself wondering: ‘What sound does a snowman make?’ It strikes me as as confounding a riddle as the question: ‘What does “Quality” mean?’ To me, “Quality” isn’t just a remarkable achievement. It’s much more than what the eye can see. Especially in the world of software development.
Quality is Elemental
Whenever I work with a new team, I begin by asking them: ‘What does “Quality” mean to you?’ Using a Clustering exercise, we mine the information to get a collective answer. Their response tells me whether or not I’m working with real professionals.
From Journeyman to Master
‘I wish I’d read this book sooner!’ was my immediate response when I read Andrew Hunt and David Thomas’s The Pragmatic Programmer all those years ago. The book’s popularity is living proof that there are people who believe in Quality. Some of those people value Quality enough to do the right thing as well as do things right.
Take a look at the piece of work you’re doing at the moment. Now imagine it’s someone else’s work. That person’s come over to ask you for feedback. Does that piece of work withstand scrutiny by your team’s defintion of Quality?
Quality is much more than the result of system improvements. Make it a matter of personal and professional pride.