So how do we manage quality in a world of Six-Sigma Rainbow, Lean, JIT, and so on? Well for starters, should we bother with the free Six-Sigma white-belt? Part of me wants to just because it has my favorite word ‘free’.
What is more bizarre is that the same company has a post on another part of their site that states ‘don’t bother with the white belt, its a waste of time.’ Go figure…
Obviously, quality is key to any project being deemed a success, but one thing we need to be crystal clear on is quality vs. grade.
Quality is essentially how well something does what it was designed to do; grade is the level of finish. So a functioning Ford Escort is a higher quality car than a Mercedes SLK with a blown cylinder head; but the SLK is a higher grade car than an Escort, as is reflected in the price tag.
For a long time we’ve used the proxy that as long as the application meets the stated specification then it is of sufficient quality to be promoted to production (this formal QA was the heart of the Waterfall quality test).
For Agile, it was a little more fluid – the client can revise the goal posts at the start of each iteration. But, if the team created something that was out of line with the story agreed in the backlog, then the work was of sufficient quality to claim the story points for that iteration’s velocity.
However, Seth Godin has a much simpler take on this as given at the Gel 2006 conference. (The Gel- Good Experience Live – is a 10-year-old conference focused on good experience in all its forms – in art, business, technology, society, and life.)
In his address, Seth makes a simple assertion that even if this is how we designed and agreed to build something, if the end user feels it is broken, then we need to take a close look at why they feel that way. User experience matters. Watch the video and enjoy his tour of things poorly designed, the 7 reasons why they are that way, and how to fix them.