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 4 – Capture five different perspectives on Quality and share their similarities and differences.
Day 6 – Find out what ‘Quality’ means to your teammates
Day 8 – Sit with your team and find out how you’re building ‘Quality’ into their work

It seemed only sensible to merge these 3 tasks together. Perspectives of quality are going to change depending on if we are speaking to a user, or someone within the business. Even within the business, the perspective will change depending on an employees role within the company. Until now, I’ve been thinking about quality from a testers perspective. Speaking to my teammates providing some alternative ideas.

I’m going to start by comparing the quality perspectives of the business and user. Then I’m going to analyse how perspectives might change within the team by specifically speaking to developers, business analysts and other testers. I will be focusing on different quality perspectives within an e-commerce organisation.

Business and User Perspective of Quality

In e-commerce, the user concerns are more likely to be focused on the products purchased from a website that the website itself. So, the end-users perception of quality is likely to be related to anything that prevents this from happening.

The business, on the other hand, will have different interests. These business interests might be linked to profit or reputation, and will be related to the user needs but only indirectly.

Here are some events that might have an impact on the quality of a product from the user’s or business’ perspective.

User ImpactBusiness Impact
Can’t purchase product the user wants because they can’t complete an orderReduction in profits because customers are not able to complete an order
User frustration caused because completing an order is too difficult, slow or annoyingReduction in profits because the customers not returning to the checkout because the process is too difficult, slow or annoying
Personal and financial details are not being kept secureRisk of fines and loss of customer trust because personal details are not being kept secure
Financial loss caused by incorrect amount of money debited from customers accountProfits and reputation affected by incorrect amount of money debited, and company having to issue refunds
User not receiving products because wrong products sent out, sent to wrong address or not sent out at all. Profits and reputation affected by incorrect amount of money debited, and company having to issue refunds

A users goal is likely to be more short term, while the business would be more concerned with long term goals. The business wants the user to return in the future and buy more products. This is more likely to happen if the user experience was positive, and the business is able to maintain a positive image.

Team Perspective of Quality

Under normal circumstances, to learn about what the teams perception of quality is, I’d have an informal discussions with colleagues during lunch and coffee breaks. With the whole world being forced into self-isolation, I’m sure you can appreciate that starting such conversations is going to be a challenge. Instead, I sent a message out on chat asking for them to answer the following questions:

  • What does quality mean to you?
  • How are you building quality into your work?

The team is made up of a business analyst, and some developers and testers.

Developers vs. Testers

The developers mostly referred to code quality and activities they do to ensure that they produce clean code. These can involve refactoring and removing any flawed logic. It is also important to write code that is possible to unit test. The code base must be consistent, stable and readable.

The testers talked about the need to ensure that all requirements have been met after a change is made to the software. There is also a desire to develop software that meets the needs and expectations of the customer.

Interestingly, the business analysts responses were very similar to the testers.

Shared Understanding

The need for shared understanding was mentioned by everyone. This can be understanding of the customer and business needs, understanding of the requirements, and the availability of documentation that will provide this. Achieving quality can be made easier when the whole team understands and appreciates the business owners vision.

Test Automation

There was considerable interest from all parties in the value of test automation. In particular, the impact that too much automation might have on the project. The need to know when enough is enough was mentioned.

Conclusion

By starting a discussion about quality within the team, it became clear that the priorities and perception of value changed depending on the persons role. This highlights the need for the team to be aware of the companies vision and communicate with each other to ensure that everyone interprets it in the same way.

The team contribute to achieving a level of quality that is required by both the user and business. It is important that all members of the development team are aware of what this is when improving the quality of the application.

Further reading

Quality Perspectives – The Club, Ministry of Testing (Day 4 discussion)
What does Quality mean to your teammates? – The Club, Ministry of Testing (Day 6 discussion)
Building Quality In – The Club, Ministry of Testing (Day 8 discussion)

Sketchnotes

Some early sketch notes created while completing these tasks.

#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.