1Pursuing Quality,and why you willnever catch itPrepared and presented byDorothy Grahamemail: info@dorothygraham.co.ukwww....
2Contents• pursuing• quality – what does it mean?• ways that work and don’t work• why we can never “catch it”– and why it’...
3What do we mean: “pursuit of quality”?• pursuit– the action of following something– the act of striving (e.g. pursuit of ...
4What is quality?
5Dimensions of quality (from Evans)• product-based– measured objectively, standards• process-based– verification, produced...
6Quality is multi-dimensionalsystemsystemsystemquality aspectWhich aspect is right?wrongquestion!
7Achieving quality• what does it mean – to “achieve quality”?– or “we have 100% quality”• this means nothing! (or very lit...
8Why can’t we achieve quality?• quality is multi-dimensional– increasing one dimension may decrease another– not achievabl...
9The tester’s dilemma• want quality– feel responsible for quality of the software?• can’t achieve it directly– testing doe...
10Why bother? Why pursue quality?• what else would we pursue – mediocrity?• we all care about quality– and should be worki...
11Strategies that don’t work• the “lone tester crying in the wilderness”– complain about quality to anyone who will listen...
12Typical description?• quality– has to be really good– recognised as top-notchquality– just the best– much better than la...
13Strategies that help• make quality goals specific and measurable• take small steps in the right direction• cooperation– ...
14Summary: key points• we pursue quality because that is thedirection we want to go• we can never achieve it– there are ma...
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'Pursuing Quality and why you will never catch it' by Dorothy Graham

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Pursuing quality is a lofty goal, and a good theme for this conference. But just because you are bent on pursuing it, doesn’t mean that you will necessarily achieve it, for a number of reasons:

- quality of software (at any realistic scale) is not achievable by any one person, be they a developer, tester or manager

-testing cannot instill quality into a software product, it can only indicate or measure what quality is already there

-because testing is infinite, it can never be finished, so how can you know about the quality of testing?

Does this mean that we should abandon the pursuit of quality? What should we pursue instead? Mediocrity? Rubbish? Nothing at all?It can be worthwhile to go after something even if you know that the ultimate goal is unachievable, because you may well achieve more than you would have done otherwise. But how do you know that you are moving towards quality?



Here are some things that don’t work:

-the “lone tester crying in the wilderness” – one tester bemoaning the lack of quality or desire for quality by everyone else

-an antagonistic approach (“I’m better than you, I’m on the side of quality! – and I can prove that you’re not!”)

-vagueness – yes, we want quality, but I can’t tell exactly what it is, but I think I’ll know it when I see it. (And by the way, this isn’t it yet)



Here are some things that do work:

-cooperation with other people – together we can achieve more than any one person alone

-communication – a necessity in working with other people, but there are good and bad ways of communicating

-making quality goals specific enough to measure whether they have been achieved or not

-taking small steps in the right direction

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  • Wrong question – which aspects (plural) are right for you at this time?
  • 'Pursuing Quality and why you will never catch it' by Dorothy Graham

    1. 1. 1Pursuing Quality,and why you willnever catch itPrepared and presented byDorothy Grahamemail: info@dorothygraham.co.ukwww.DorothyGraham.co.uk© Dorothy Graham 2011
    2. 2. 2Contents• pursuing• quality – what does it mean?• ways that work and don’t work• why we can never “catch it”– and why it’s still worth pursuing
    3. 3. 3What do we mean: “pursuit of quality”?• pursuit– the action of following something– the act of striving (e.g. pursuit of higher education)– an activity such as a vocation, hobby or pastime inwhich a person is regularly engaged– an effort to secure or attain, a quest (e.g. the pursuitof happiness)• do we mean: chasing after and trying toachieve?
    4. 4. 4What is quality?
    5. 5. 5Dimensions of quality (from Evans)• product-based– measured objectively, standards• process-based– verification, produced correctly• user-based– fitness for use, the right product• value-based– ROI, bottom line• transcendent– gut feel, know it when I see it, emotionalNote: these maybe in conflictwith each other!Isabel Evans, Achieving Software Quality through Teamwork, Artech House 2004
    6. 6. 6Quality is multi-dimensionalsystemsystemsystemquality aspectWhich aspect is right?wrongquestion!
    7. 7. 7Achieving quality• what does it mean – to “achieve quality”?– or “we have 100% quality”• this means nothing! (or very little)– 100% of what?– what has been achieved?• you may be able to achieve what you havedefined and can measure• is “quality” the sum of our definitions?
    8. 8. 8Why can’t we achieve quality?• quality is multi-dimensional– increasing one dimension may decrease another– not achievable by only 1 person in an organisation• testing doesn’t increase quality (directly)– it assesses quality– it is looking for non-quality - bugs• even with “perfect” / quality testing?– how much testing is enough (for quality)?
    9. 9. 9The tester’s dilemma• want quality– feel responsible for quality of the software?• can’t achieve it directly– testing doesn’t put the bugs in– testing doesn’t take them out– testing doesn’t build the software• how can we be responsible for something wehave no power over?• so why should we bother?
    10. 10. 10Why bother? Why pursue quality?• what else would we pursue – mediocrity?• we all care about quality– and should be working together to achieve thegoals that are important• as testers, we can help– identifying the direction (assess quality)– get involved early (prevention better thandetection)
    11. 11. 11Strategies that don’t work• the “lone tester crying in the wilderness”– complain about quality to anyone who will listen• appoint yourself the “quality champion”– “I’m the only one around here who is interested inquality”– both of these are antagonistic, sets the testeragainst others• vagueness
    12. 12. 12Typical description?• quality– has to be really good– recognised as top-notchquality– just the best– much better than lasttime– can’t tie it down, but I’llknow it when I see it• deadlines– has to be really quick– recognised as thequickest possible– just the quickest– much sooner than lasttime– can’t give a specific date,but I’ll know when it’s lateSee www.gilb.com for Tom Gilb’s methods of measuring quality
    13. 13. 13Strategies that help• make quality goals specific and measurable• take small steps in the right direction• cooperation– with developers– with customers– with managers• communication– can you see quality from the other person’s side?
    14. 14. 14Summary: key points• we pursue quality because that is thedirection we want to go• we can never achieve it– there are many dimensions which conflict– perfection costs infinity– imperfect world with imperfect people• but it’s worth pursuing– points us in the right directionwww.dorothygraham.co.uk info@dorothygraham.co.uk

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