why does quality matter?

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WHY DOES QUALITY MATTER? Hi. I’m Simon and I have an obsession with quality. I’m going to talk about why I believe quality matters and also delve into the thought process of a quality obsession.

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This presentation talks about an obsession with quality. It covers how there is a link between perceived quality and customer state. It also delves into how a quality obsessed brain works and aims to share reasons why quality matters.

TRANSCRIPT

Page 1: Why does quality matter?

WHY DOES QUALITY MATTER?

Hi. I’m Simon and I have an obsession with quality. I’m going to talk about why I believe quality matters and also delve into the thought process of a quality obsession.

Page 2: Why does quality matter?

SIMON TOMES

TEST PROFESSIONAL 10 YEARS AGILE/SCRUM PRACTITIONER GUMTREE, EBAY, RIGHTMOVE

<INSERT COMPANY NAME HERE> 20ME.CLUB

I’ve been a test professional for 10 or so years. Having worked at Gumtree, ebay and Rightmove. As a test analyst, test team leader, qa manager, development team lead and business excellence manager. And I recently quit the corporate world to pursue my own venture. I’m currently building an awesome product that helps test professionals design and track tests. I also run free Agile/Scrum sessions once a month. Plus I’m putting together a collaborative 20 person book on leadership called the 20me.club

Page 3: Why does quality matter?

WHO HERE CARES ABOUT QUALITY?

So who here cares about quality?

Page 4: Why does quality matter?

WHO HERE CARES ABOUT QUALITY?

AND WHY?

And why do you care? <ask for the audience to shout out their answers>

Page 5: Why does quality matter?

WHO DO WE HAVE IN THE AUDIENCE TODAY?

I’d like to find out more about the audience I’m talking to today. Who here is a developer? Back end? Front end? All round developer? Designers? Testers? Product people? Cool, it’s important for me to understand my audience. And I guess that leads into an important point about why quality matters. It’s all relevant to the target audience.

Page 6: Why does quality matter?

WHY DOES QUALITY MATTER?

So here’s an example. I was recently tweeted by a digital magazine asking if I’d like to download their free trial magazine. I said yes and downloaded the magazine to my iPhone 5S. Tried to read it on my commute home but there was no simple way to zoom into the content with a double tap. Like you would on a website. I emailed them to ask if I was their target audience and asked if they were actually focusing on people with iPhone 6 Plus or tablet. They said no and said they are working on a fix. Fair enough. It was a shame at the time because the magazine lacked quality. I’m sure the content was great, it just wasn’t functional.

Page 7: Why does quality matter?

PERCEIVED QUALITY

STATE OF YOUR CUSTOMER

I’ve got a theory there is a direct link between perceived quality and the state of the customer. Let me explain what I mean by this.

Page 8: Why does quality matter?

How I think, feel and experience quality (or even value) depends on where I am with regards to the product or feature. If I’ve only just discovered it than I’m extremely unsure of the quality of the product or feature. Yet if I’m at the other end of the scale and am screaming about how amazing this thing is then I’m pretty damn sure of it’s quality.

Page 9: Why does quality matter?

QUALITY IS ABOUT REMOVING UNCERTAINTY

In product development I believe that quality is about removing uncertainty. Let me give you an example.

Page 10: Why does quality matter?

PHOTO : Katelyn Kenderdine

Imagine you’re a person at the top of this cliff face. You’re standing where there’s a load of fog. Someone tells you that you need to jump a gap to make it to the other side of the cliff. At this point you have no idea how wide the gap is. There’s a load of fog in the way and you don’t have enough information to know what would happen if you just jumped. Now imagine you can take action to help remove the fog, see how wide the gap is and work out ways to reduce the gap (such as a bridge or rope swing). Quality is about gaining visibility of your risks and reducing the gap of uncertainty.

Page 11: Why does quality matter?

REMOVE UNWARRANTED CERTAINTY

Another way of putting it, as someone recently commented on a blog post of mine, quality is about removing unwarranted certainty. A false confidence. How many people here have worked in a development team where someone has said “let’s just ship it and see what happens”? Not good.

Page 12: Why does quality matter?

PHOTO : Kevin Simpson

A LOOK INTO A QUALITY OBSESSED BRAIN

So now I’d like to go deeper into my brain. Scary I know. But I want to share with you the sort of thought process I go through whenever I’m faced with a new thing to test. I’d like to make it a bit of a quiz so I’m going to tell you about four things. I want you to see whether you think in the same way as I do.

Page 13: Why does quality matter?

1. WHAT DOES THIS REALLY MEAN?

So the first thought that goes through the head of someone who is obsessed with quality is ‘what does this really mean’? Let me give you an example.

Page 14: Why does quality matter?

When an ad is posted by a user for the first time, send an activation email with a link to complete

account activation.

I used to work at a large classifieds website. Here is a typical requirement. It seems reasonable enough yet I’d pull apart every single word to make sure I really understood what it’s trying to achieve.

Page 15: Why does quality matter?

When an ad is posted by a user for the first time, send an activation email with a link to complete

account activation.

What is an ad? What type of ad is it? Does it matter what category it’s is? Is the ad a free ad or a paid for ad?

Page 16: Why does quality matter?

When an ad is posted by a user for the first time, send an activation email with a link to complete

account activation.

What type of users are we talking about? Is it professional users or regular users?

Page 17: Why does quality matter?

When an ad is posted by a user for the first time, send an activation email with a link to complete

account activation.

Does the first time mean this is very first time they have used the site? Or does it mean that they’ve already registered but haven’t activated their account?

Page 18: Why does quality matter?

When an ad is posted by a user for the first time, send an activation email with a link to complete

account activation.

Who does the activation email go to? Does the user get the opportunity to change the email address it’s sent to? When does the email get sent? Immediately? Within 5 minutes? Within 24 hours?

Page 19: Why does quality matter?

When an ad is posted by a user for the first time, send an activation email with a link to complete

account activation.

I COULD GO ON BUT I WON’T

I could go on with more but I won’t.

Page 20: Why does quality matter?

2. WHAT WOULD THE USER REALLY DO?

The second thought that goes through the head of a person who is obsessed with quality is ‘what would the user really do?’

Page 21: Why does quality matter?

This comes back to the target audience. What sort of users are going to use the thing that I want to ensure is quality? Do we have some stats so I know how to spend my time? How do those users behave? Can we create personas for these users so we can mimic their behaviour? How do we find out more about the perceived user?

Page 22: Why does quality matter?

3. HOW COULD THIS GO WRONG?

The third thought that goes through the head of a person who is obsessed with quality is ‘what could go wrong?’

Page 23: Why does quality matter?

3. HOW COULD THIS GO WRONG?

LIKELIHOOD

IMPACT

DETECTABILITY

After establishing a list of things that could possibly go wrong with the new product or feature, it’s important to identify for each the likelihood of it happening, the impact it would have if it happened and how easy it is to detect. There’s a nifty technique for prioritising the things that could go wrong. For each item assign a score of 1 to 9 for likelihood, impact and detectability. Then multiple those three numbers per item. I recommend focusing on those with the highest number.

Page 24: Why does quality matter?

4. IS THAT ENOUGH?

The fourth thought that goes through the head of a person who is obsessed with quality is ‘is that enough?’

Page 25: Why does quality matter?

PHOTO : Katelyn Kenderdine

Coming back to our cliff face. Have we cleared enough fog? Do we know how big the gap is now? What have we done to reduce the gap? And with product development, do we have enough information to know that we have reduced the uncertainty gap? Who decides if the uncertainty gap is small enough that ‘the thing’ is ready to be put in front of real users? Have we done enough? Are we happy not doing the things we haven’t done?

Page 26: Why does quality matter?

1. WHAT DOES THIS REALLY MEAN?

2. WHAT WOULD THE USER REALLY DO?

3. HOW COULD THIS GO WRONG? 4. IS THAT ENOUGH?

So to recap, who here related to none of these? To one? To two? To three? And to four?

Page 27: Why does quality matter?

For those who got a three or four then please have yourself a Mars bar!

<throw Mars Bars into the audience>

Page 28: Why does quality matter?

QUALITY MATTERS BECAUSE …

So to conclude, quality matters because…

Page 29: Why does quality matter?

1. QUALITY IS SUCCESS IN BUSINESS

Quality is the difference between a successful business and an unsuccessful business. Without question.

Page 30: Why does quality matter?

2. QUALITY IS MOTIVATING

Quality is extremely motivating both internally and externally. Imagine a whole product development team who is obsessed with quality. How each person in that team will support each other to ensure the best is delivered at any given point in time.

Page 31: Why does quality matter?

And motivating externally.

If we come back to this chart. Imagine delivering something where the customer is so sure about the perceived quality. That customer is going to be extremely passionate about the thing they are using. The customer is motivated at this point to influence those around them. This in turn is feedback for the team developing the product and it becomes a sort of positive feedback loop.

Page 32: Why does quality matter?

3. QUALITY IS BEING HUMAN

And finally. Quality is being human. As humans we are fallible. We make mistakes. And contrary to our childhood schooling, it’s actually good to fail. In product development the power of failing fast and therefore learning fast is extremely important. This fast feedback loop makes for better products and should be embraced as naturally as it is to make a mistake.

Page 33: Why does quality matter?

“FAILURE IS GOOD AS LONG AS IT’S NOT THE CUSTOMER WHO IS FAILING” SIMON TOMES

So I thought I’d come up with this quote. ‘Failure is good as long as it’s not the customer who is failing’.

Page 34: Why does quality matter?

“BE A YARDSTICK OF QUALITY. SOME PEOPLE AREN’T USED TO AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE

EXCELLENCE IS EXPECTED” STEVE JOBS

Yet, there’s this guy called Steve Jobs who came up with something better. ‘Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected’.

Page 35: Why does quality matter?

THANK YOU

@simon_tomes I blog on Medium

Connect with me on LinkedIn

Thanks for your time. Here are some ways you could connect with me if you like. I’d love to chat more about this talk.

www.twitter.com/simon_tomes https://medium.com/@simon_tomes uk.linkedin.com/in/simontomes/