Each year, Ministry of Testing launch a #30DaysOfTesting challenge. This year the topic is ‘Quality‘. The challenge began in March, but I was a little late getting started. So, throughout April and May, I’m going to be publishing a series of blog posts where I share my progress.

Day 2 – Read and share a blog post on Quality

For day 2 of the challenge, I’m going to discuss some ideas shared in the following blog posts

Quality is Dead #1: The Hypothesis by James Bach, Satisfice
Quality is a journey – but do you know your destination? by Anne-Marie Charrett, Maverick Tester

Deciding on the Level of Quality

I was particularly interested in the following quote:

“A pleasing level of quality for end users has become too hard to achieve while demand for it has simultaneously evaporated and penalties for not achieving it are weak.

Quality is Dead #1: The Hypothesis by James Bach, Satisfice

How do we decide what a ‘pleasing level of quality’ is? If that level is too hard to achieve, then maybe that level is being set to high.

Most products are developed because the business wants to make money by providing something the user wants or needs. The level of quality should be determined by considering the user needs and expectations. At the same time, the business needs to ensure that attempts to improve quality does not significantly negate the potential return of investment.

Considering the potential penalties for not reaching a certain level is essential. Penalties can include loss of reputation, fines or financial losses. The quality level needs to be high enough so the risks are reduced as much as possible.

A minimum level of quality should be one where the risks are suitably mitigated, and the user expectations have been met.

My personal definition of quality is that its perfection. Going by this definition, do we believe that there is a demand for quality? I don’t think so. I agree that there is often a demand for a high level of quality, but perfection is not always expected. Instead, there is usually an expectation for improving quality.

Achieving the Level of Quality

“Quality morphs and moulds itself to the context its living in. In reality, we never will achieve quality.”

Quality is a journey – but do you know your destination? by Anne-Marie Charrett, Maverick Tester

The desired level of quality must be achievable – although reaching that level might be difficult to accomplish. Things become especially challenging as expectations and demands change.

Anne-Marie Charrett suggests that we should “go on a journey to improved quality, and we can monitor how we are progressing”. This journey is framed by specifying the business outcomes. These are goals that the business wants to achieve.

Once we are aware of the business outcomes, we can identify the threats to these outcomes. We can work towards reducing these threats using a series of small steps. Consider carrying out a series of small experiments. Analyse the results, and refactor so that the results lead to improvements.

The desired level of quality can be specified using business outcomes. Change does not happen overnight. It will take time. Instead of showing we have achieved the objective, it is important to demonstrate how we are getting closer to achieving these objectives.

Further Reading

Quality is a journey – but do you know your destination? by Anne-Marie Charrett, Maverick Tester
Quality is Dead #1: The Hypothesis by James Bach, Satisfice
30 Days of Quality Day 2: Blog Post – The Club, Ministry of Testing

#30DaysOfTesting – Progress so far

  • Day 1 – Lookup some definitions of what ‘Quality’ is and share your own definition on The Club
  • Day 2 – Read and share a blog post on Quality
  • Day 3 – Pick a book to read that discusses ‘Quality’ and share on The Club why you’ve chosen it
    • Will be completed along with Day 30
  • Day 4 – Capture five different perspectives on Quality and share their similarities and differences.
  • Day 5 – Get some members of your team to join you in a game of Quality Jenga
    • Can’t complete due to COVID-19 Pandemic. Not sure how to play Jenga when everyone is working from home.
  • Day 6 – Find out what ‘Quality’ means to your teammates
  • Day 7 – Follow 5 people on social media who are sharing or working around ‘Quality’
  • Day 8 – Sit with your team and find out how you’re building ‘Quality’ into their work
  • Day 9 – Contribute to a discussion on The Club about ‘Quality’
  • Day 10 – Find and read feedback from your customers. What does this tell you about the quality of your product?
  • Day 11 – Watch the AMA on Quality Engineering and join the conversation on The Club
  • Day 12 – Create a visualization that can help describe the different aspects of ‘Quality’
  • Day 13 – Find, listen and share a podcast on ‘Quality’
  • Day 14 – Read about ‘Quality Characteristics’ and share a characteristic that matters to you
  • Day 15 – Ask five different teams within your organisation what is the most important quality characteristic for them
  • Day 16 – Pick a ‘Quality Characteristic’ and use it to guide an exploratory testing session
  • Day 17 – Pick an app that you use daily, what quality aspects of the app encourage you to use it?
  • Day 18 – Share a bug you have found in your system and the quality characteristic that is was potentially affecting
  • Day 19 – Read and share your thoughts on Principle 5 of Modern Testing
  • Day 20 – Look up and share a definition on Quality Engineering
  • Day 21 – Share a resource on how you might measure quality
  • Day 22 – Find out what metrics your internal stakeholders care about and why
  • Day 23 – Map out how ideas get to production and look for the biggest bottlenecks or problems
  • Day 24 – Share what quality metrics you track or what metrics you want to track
  • Day 25 – Research how an external company improves their ‘Quality’ – how can your team adopt these improvements?
  • Day 26 – Create a way to report to your stakeholders your team’s views on quality
  • Day 27 – What is the role of a quality coach?
  • Day 28 – Research the different between Functional Quality and Structural Quality
  • Day 29 – Contribute to a discussion on The Club about whether there is a difference between code quality and software quality
  • Day 30 – Share something you’ve learnt from the book you chose to read on Day 3.