Today, I read an interesting quote today from one of Bob Marshall‘s blog posts that really got my brain cogs working…
“The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.”
– Peter F. Drucker
The reason that this quote struck me was its sheer emphasis on the importance of the customer, being the purpose for business. Hinting that all of our business decisions should be based around our customers. And I’m assuming that “customer” implies both customers and users (as they could potentially be different stakeholders).
I can relate to this quote when it comes to emphasising the importance of thinking about quality.
The challenges that I see in lots of companies, surrounding product throughput over product output and the way that we strive to speed up our development processes, sometimes pushing quality aside… it makes me wonder if businesses have lost sight of the purpose of the business in the first place in relation to the quote? Or did they ever have a focus on their customer’s happiness? Looking at some startup companies out there, I guess that’s debatable.
Also, if you think about Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment, many people can’t even tell you what the difference is between these two processes and where sapient testing fits into them. But yet there is an urge from these same people to continue to drive ahead at full speed to implement these processes in order to speed up the throughput of their product releases, putting their companies at risk… But that’s ok right, because that other book or blog us told us that “as long as we fail fast, then everything will be ok“. [face-palm]
How did we get here? Is it because people hear about new processes and methodologies and want to jump on board without learning about them? Is it because of misconceptions that people have about various aspects of the industry? Or is it because the customers aren’t actually the number one purpose for the business anymore (if they were at all)? If our software wasn’t of a high standard, would our customers still use it? Does any of this matter?
I guess all of these questions depend on what the software is, who the customers and users are, and how the business actually makes money. Companies like Facebook and Google to a degree appear to make their money from advertisements and other means rather than directly from their users. So maybe that’s the reason why Facebook don’t seem to employ anyone that specialises in testing. But is it right that other companies, who do make their money from their customers and users, attempt without question to model their processes based on Facebook just because it’s seen as a successful company? To these people, I wish I could say: “Open your eyes! Your context and situations are completely different!!”
I’m interested to hear other people’s perspective on this “throughput vs output” debate, and what you think of the quote… Whats the first thing that springs to mind when you see it? Have you seen or experienced some of these problems? What’s your thoughts and opinions of them? And how do you think these problems can be overcome?