Hey, where are the bugs anyway?
Here’s a scenario:
Business analyst writes requirement in detail. Architect and Developer review requirements. Many clarifications later, Developer codes module. Module goes to QA. QA find three bugs and the module sent back to developer. Developer fixes bugs and resends Module back to QA. (Developer coding time lost) QA finds the earlier bugs fixed - but now finds the fix introduced five new bugs. Fast forward three months into development cycle and the bug tracking system is crawling with bugs. Quality - whose responsibility is it anyway?
I am sure whether you manufacture software or goods or provide services, you will have come across the above scenario at least once (if not more) in your career. But what is quality a function of anyway? I got two words for you: Value and Culture. These are the foundations upon which depend the success or failure of your business.
Definition: n. a principle or standard considered worthwhile or desirable.
You are your values: your personal beliefs. It is important you define yourself (if you have not already done so). For example who is CA? I am my values. If we agree to the premise that between a stimuli and response lies a time period - however small - wherein we make our choices, our values drive our actions. Dedication, perseverance, patience - all these qualities are a function of our values.
As a leader you need to know what your core values are. That is going to drive everything you do in your organization; your customers, your vendors, your employees, your financers and other stakeholders. Liz Strauss at the Successful-blog has a post on The Ideal Customer. What holds true for one set of stakeholders also holds true for all your stakeholders. I’ll take Liz’s comment one step further, “YOUR ideal stakeholder looks a lot like YOU.”
Definition: n. customs, institutions and achievements of a particular nation, group or people. v. maintain conditions suitable for growth.
Both the noun and verb forms are quite apt even in the business context. Just as you have defined your values, define your organizational values. You need to solicit the values of the majority of the employees to arrive at the organizational culture. The collective set of values of all individuals in your organization defines your organizational culture. I won’t regurgitate what I have written in the past on culture - you can read it up here in the strategy implementation series.
If we agree that quality is a function of values and culture, you would think the first step in ensuring error free code is to go about bringing a change in the organizational culture. Oh yes, organizational culture can be changed just like your personal values. But get ready for the challenge of a life-time!
So, whose responsibility is Quality? The QA department? The Developer? The Business Analyst? The Project Manager? …. I would say “Everyone”.
- The Business Analyst provides a well written functional requirements documents.
- The Business Analyst spends the time to explain to the Developer the significance of the Module and how the Module will integrate into the client’s business process.
- The Developer spends some extra time up-front to follow best practices and write optimal code AND test the Module. Oh yes, Quality is everyone’s business, isn’t it?
- QA receives a relatively error-free product to test.
- Everyone is happy!
What would you say? How would you get from “It’s a buggy product” to “Hey, where are the bugs anyway?”
This post was featured in the following Carnival/s:Project Management categories.