Understanding the True Meaning of Quality | TechWell

Understanding the True Meaning of Quality

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A recent TechWell Insights story focused on the need for well-formed minds in software testing. How do testers get to this state? Try taking a conscious step toward understanding what software quality is beyond the core day-to-day testing.

We live in an age of digital convergence and disruption and where quality is a collective ownership. To be able to ride these challenging waves, understanding and embracing the larger meaning of quality is the key. Day-to-day testing techniques, strategy, approach, and automation are all things that teams understand and will continue to implement, but how many teams understand the elements of purpose, belonging, transcendence, and storytelling?

Purpose, belonging, transcendence, and storytelling are the four pillars that Emily Esfahani Smith, a TED speaker, spoke about in There's more to life than being happy. These points also apply when trying to understand the meaning of quality too. In fact, a lot of these are also points that Satya Nadella, the current CEO of Microsoft, references in his latest book, Hit Refresh, where he talks about rediscovering the soul and reinstilling the culture quotient in the organization.

For software quality, purpose is all about connecting great ideas with end user experiences and empathy. When such a clear purpose is identified, better product understanding, improved scenarios to test, and an overall end user connection will flow through automatically.

Belonging is what how you fit into the ecosystem of your product, team, and end users, and it is not only about intrinsic belonging but also extrinsic belonging. In his book, Nadella talks about how Azure was extended to support Linux and then named Microsoft Azure instead of Windows Azure because of the true place the product belonged to, while disregarding the fact that they are competing operating systems.

The next pillar that is important to understand in quality is how to build extraordinary or transcending experiences for end users, which comes from questioning the status quo and and building a culture of innovation. Innovation may be big or small, but it needs to be across all areas and have a clear focus on end user satisfaction.

And finally, as a person that owns quality, it is important to talk the walk (it's not enough to talk the talk or walk the walk), where we as testers should understand the importance of storytelling to ensure that quality is understood, acknowledged, and appreciated by everyone, including end users.

When these four pillars come together, the 5Cs needed for an organization’s success—context, company, collaboration, customer, and competition—are automatically taken care of. When testers understand and embrace the true meaning of quality, it can create a win-win scenario for everyone.

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