I’ve got a question… I’ve always liked the definition of quality to be “value to someone who matters”, but I’ve hit a problem with the way this feels when I say it.
When we read out loud: “Quality equals Value to someone who matters”, then it shows that we are really saying that quality IS value, with the caveat of it being relative to someone who matters.
But when you actually think about it, is quality value? Is it actually equal to value? Does “high quality” = “extremely valuable”?
The more I think about it, the more I feel that quality isn’t actually equal to value, but that it directly relates to value. You see, quality can and does definitely affect value. And value (what the “someone who matters” actually values) is definitely what we strive to aim for when we are focusing on what constitutes to being quality – as in, we take on board what the customers/users/stakeholders/anyone who matters wants, needs and values from the product that we are building them, and we focus on those things while we are building and testing the product so that they value in turn value the product.
But on the other hand, is it possible to build a quality product that isn’t valued? Or a high quality product that might be valued initially, but that the value deteriorates until it’s not valued anymore? It would still be a high quality product though, right? No code would have changed for the quality of the product to deteriorate…
I would say that this is possible. Lets take an example of a mobile app. Lets say you design, build and test a mobile app for a client. And you take on board everything that your clients and stakeholders value and build a great, high quality app. What if some users then come along and give the app a very low rating? Or what if one of your clients competitors release a newer app that has a cool new feature that your app doesn’t have? Your client’s value of the app might drop, but that doesn’t make the app of low quality, does it?
Or does it really mean that the quality of the software can change without any code in the product actually changing? Purely due to circumstances and perceptions around the whole idea of how the software is valued…
What do you think? What’s your opinion?