30 Days of Quality: Who Decides Quality?

Hi all,

I’m currently working through the 30 Days of Testing Quality challenge and wanted to start a new discussion for Day 9 (Contribute to a discussion on the Club about Quality).

While working through the different activities, there is one question that has been burning in my mind. Who decides what ‘Quality’ is?

I was very interested in the idea that “Quality is value to some person (who matters)” (Gerald Weinberg, with an addition by Michael Bolton and James Bach).

Who is that person? Is it a single person or several people? Why should value only matter to certain people? Why not all stakeholders?

It’ll be interesting to hear your thoughts.

This is a tough topic to solve. Here is how far I’ve gotten on this.
It is easier to discuss quality by comparison than by absolutes. I.e. our product is faster than 50% of our competitors. Or the latest version requires 2 fewer step to complete the action. This allows for a tester to to provide information about quality without judging the value to much. For me this is important since Testers are rarely a person who matters.

As to who matters that is a multitude of people and that change through the lifecycle of a product. In general you can follow the money on this. In development before the first version the money typically comes from some form of investor. Where when your product is out on the market hopefully your money comes for the customer. In general I would advice to keep the list of people how matters as small as possible. The main reason being that you will soon find yourself in a conflict. Where let’s say a product owner want’s a specific feature and a project manager want’s to keep a schedule. Now the you have to both figure out what the difference is in value and who matters most. And when you have thousands of customers you cannot protect all of their value.

For me the definition is a good one and the addition is needed as it should inspire you to discuss quality from what value is it to whom, why does that person matter and how much.