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SqaSharma
Newbie


Reged: 11/14/07
Posts: 4
IT industry accepted definitions of quality....
      #434579 - 11/20/07 04:10 AM

Hi,

All,

Please tell me the IT industry accepted definitions of quality.

Thanks,
Sharabh Sharma


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DSquared
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Reged: 04/02/03
Posts: 4546
Loc: Wisconsin, USA
Re: IT industry accepted definitions of quality.... [Re: SqaSharma]
      #434580 - 11/20/07 04:18 AM

If you find one, please let US know.

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Rich W.Moderator
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Reged: 03/05/04
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Re: IT industry accepted definitions of quality.. [Re: DSquared]
      #434649 - 11/20/07 07:22 AM

Demming says that Quality is the ability to stay in business.

What is your definition?

--------------------
Personal Comment

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
~ Winston Churchill ~


...Rich Wagner


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brentpaine
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Reged: 03/09/07
Posts: 3755
Loc: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Re: IT industry accepted definitions of quality.. [Re: Rich W.]
      #435097 - 11/21/07 10:34 AM

Funny ou should ask, I was just at a local SQA meeting here today and we got the following meaning:

"Quality is value to some person or persons"
- Jerry Weinberg, in Quality Software and Testing, April 2006

Ultimately I think this is true and I don't, honestly, think that there is any way that you can sum up quality in a quantitative manner.

Quality is defined differently by different people. Weinberg also said, paraphrasing, "...Or do you still think quality is something in the software rather than its relationship to people who use it, pay for it, or are victimized by it?"

Just remember, a software application might be the greatest thing since sliced bread until it doesn't do something you need, then it's crap.

--------------------
Brent
--------------------
9 out of 10 people I prove wrong agree that I'm right. The other person is my wife.
--------------------


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AOQA
Active Member


Reged: 04/12/07
Posts: 1044
Re: IT industry accepted definitions of quality.. [Re: brentpaine]
      #435103 - 11/21/07 10:52 AM

The definition given by the insurance industry is that "quality" is equivalent to the satisfaction of customers' requirements.

We're all about defining stuff.

Edited by AOQA (11/21/07 10:53 AM)


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brentpaine
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Reged: 03/09/07
Posts: 3755
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Re: IT industry accepted definitions of quality.. [Re: AOQA]
      #435105 - 11/21/07 10:54 AM

LOL, yeah but customers don't know what they want.

--------------------
Brent
--------------------
9 out of 10 people I prove wrong agree that I'm right. The other person is my wife.
--------------------


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AOQA
Active Member


Reged: 04/12/07
Posts: 1044
Re: IT industry accepted definitions of quality.. [Re: brentpaine]
      #435115 - 11/21/07 11:23 AM

Quote:

LOL, yeah but customers don't know what they want.




Stuff that they don't know they want falls under the category of "latent requirements" and part of the quality thing is to unearth those latent requirements and make them into explicit requirements.

That reads like a Sam The Eagle kind of authoritarian monotone, but I think it's a powerful idea.


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brentpaine
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Reged: 03/09/07
Posts: 3755
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Re: IT industry accepted definitions of quality.. [Re: AOQA]
      #435116 - 11/21/07 11:27 AM

Exactly, because I've never had a requirement listed on a specification that says that a software even needs to run. That would be like my first requirement:

1) Executable must launch the application
2) May not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
3) Must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
4) Must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

I think that about covers laws of a software application. Doesn't it? LOL

--------------------
Brent
--------------------
9 out of 10 people I prove wrong agree that I'm right. The other person is my wife.
--------------------


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AOQA
Active Member


Reged: 04/12/07
Posts: 1044
Re: IT industry accepted definitions of quality.. [Re: brentpaine]
      #435121 - 11/21/07 11:34 AM

Those are "implicit requirements" according to the IIA.

A latent requirement for Outlook 2003 might be something like "system must store related messages together in conversations" (Something I want that no one asked for and they did not supply.)

whereas an implicit requirement would be "Outlook shall not shock you through the mouse when you hit Send."


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brentpaine
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Reged: 03/09/07
Posts: 3755
Loc: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Re: IT industry accepted definitions of quality.. [Re: AOQA]
      #435123 - 11/21/07 11:39 AM

Quote:

"Outlook shall not shock you through the mouse when you hit Send."




...... unless you did something stupid. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.

--------------------
Brent
--------------------
9 out of 10 people I prove wrong agree that I'm right. The other person is my wife.
--------------------


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TestingMentor
Member


Reged: 12/28/06
Posts: 235
Loc: Seattle, Washington
Re: IT industry accepted definitions of quality.. [Re: brentpaine]
      #435132 - 11/21/07 12:06 PM

It's funny that often times people only present one perspective of a topic (mostly in order to support their own agenda).

Yes, Gerald Weinberg said "Quality is value to some person or persons." And Philip Crosby said "Quality is conformance to standards" which seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum.

I guess it depends whether or not we are talking about quality as metaphysical abstractions or whether we are talking about quality as measurable attributes.

For example, to me something has value if it improves or satisfies a need in my life. A car for example, provides value to me because it is better than walking, or bicycling 20 miles to work each day. However, when I decide to buy a car I evaluate specific, measurable or comparable attributes such as gas milage, acceleration, horsepower, interior layout, etc. To me these are quality attributes. I can decide on a vehicle of higher gas milage or lesser acceleration based on price (limiting factor) or because I 'like' a particular manufacturer or color (personal value).

--------------------
- Bj -
I.M. Testy blog
Testing Mentor


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Joe Strazzere
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Reged: 05/15/00
Posts: 12344
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
Re: IT industry accepted definitions of quality.. [Re: brentpaine]
      #435297 - 11/22/07 05:46 AM

Quote:

Exactly, because I've never had a requirement listed on a specification that says that a software even needs to run. That would be like my first requirement:

1) Executable must launch the application
2) May not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
3) Must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
4) Must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

I think that about covers laws of a software application. Doesn't it? LOL




+3 points for the Isaac Asimov reference!
-1 point for having 4 laws, rather than 3!



--------------------
- Joe
Visit AllThingsQuality.com to learn more about quality, testing, and QA!

I speak only for me. I do not speak for my employer, nor for anyone else.


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brentpaine
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Reged: 03/09/07
Posts: 3755
Loc: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Re: IT industry accepted definitions of quality.. [Re: TestingMentor]
      #435305 - 11/22/07 06:10 AM

Quote:

I guess it depends whether or not we are talking about quality as metaphysical abstractions or whether we are talking about quality as measurable attributes.





Exactly, and I think this is a great comment to illustrate a point. Both quotes are equally vague in reference, but do position themselves as polar opposites. However, neither is "wrong". So I think this shows how subjective "Quality" really is.

Quote:

For example, to me something has value if it improves or satisfies a need in my life. A car for example, provides value to me because it is better than walking, or bicycling 20 miles to work each day. However, when I decide to buy a car I evaluate specific, measurable or comparable attributes such as gas milage, acceleration, horsepower, interior layout, etc. To me these are quality attributes. I can decide on a vehicle of higher gas milage or lesser acceleration based on price (limiting factor) or because I 'like' a particular manufacturer or color (personal value).




This is the subjective part. Some people would not buy the exact car you did because, for instance, they have had experience of that vehicle being poorly constructed or they've had a bad experience with the manufacturer. Therefore, something that is a measure of quality in your eyes may not be in another. Also, in some, things like gas milage may not be a concern.

Also, if that car breaks down three times in the first week and has you walking to work, then I think the perception of quality will have shifted, also.

Could it be that Quality is, actually, a theory over something more hardened? I'm going to take a crack at my own definition here, "Quality is the perception of value by one or more persons who base their opinions on personal and/or measurable criteria."

How is this? Does this come somewhere in the middle? On the fence like? To break it down, I think that quality, as illustrated, is perceived value, and might or might not be measurable. However, if that product were to fail you, or if you discovered issues with the product after purchasing it, you may think differently of the quality of that exact same product.

Does that get me my other point back, Joe?

--------------------
Brent
--------------------
9 out of 10 people I prove wrong agree that I'm right. The other person is my wife.
--------------------


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GeraldMWeinberg
Newbie


Reged: 11/22/07
Posts: 8
Re: IT industry accepted definitions of quality.. [Re: brentpaine]
      #435337 - 11/22/07 08:32 AM

"I think that quality, as illustrated, is perceived value, and might or might not be measurable."

I like this amendment/clarification to my original definition of quality. In human behavior, perception is what counts.

So, for example, you can improve (or decrease) quality through (ugh!) advertising. Not the way we technologists like to think of it, but it happens all the time.

Or, the moment some new competing product comes out into public awareness, the quality of your product may change (for better or worse). The new product doesn't even have to exist, but just be announced or even speculated about--hence preannouncements intended to reduce the (perception of) competitors' products.

I would also like to clarify the "might or might not be measurable" phrase. Whenever we see passive voice ("be measurable"), we may find it useful to insert the implied actor. Who is doing the measurement? In this case, different measurers will produce different perceptions of quality. Hence all those fruitless arguments over why your perception of quality doesn't match my measurement.

In short, any measurement that doesn't measure a particular person or person's perception is not going to be predictive of that person or person's behavior with respect to quality. That's why we're always surprised when people buy a product that we engineers can "prove" is inferior to our own product.

Gerald M. Weinberg
http://www.geraldmweinberg.com

P.S. I'm enjoying this discussion immensely. IOW, it's of high quality--for me.


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brentpaine
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Reged: 03/09/07
Posts: 3755
Loc: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Re: IT industry accepted definitions of quality.. [Re: GeraldMWeinberg]
      #435345 - 11/22/07 09:27 AM

Thanks for the response Gerald, it's great to have experts, such as yourself, join in on our conversations here sometimes. It always seems to make for a great thread.

By the way, I must say, I haven't personally read any of your books, but a friend of mine introduced me to the Law of Twins once and, I was initially very excited by the name, although I was a little let down by the actual context, but it's still very, very true. Probably in any industry actually.

Quote:

So, for example, you can improve (or decrease) quality through (ugh!) advertising. Not the way we technologists like to think of it, but it happens all the time.

Or, the moment some new competing product comes out into public awareness, the quality of your product may change (for better or worse). The new product doesn't even have to exist, but just be announced or even speculated about--hence preannouncements intended to reduce the (perception of) competitors' products.





This has Microsoft written all over it. I think that using Microsoft as an example, though, also serves to illustrate that we are willing to endure some amount of abuse by a product before we actually abandon it altogether. Especially if we have significant resources, whether that be money, time learning, etc. invested into the product. To use BJ's example, if our brand new car breaks down a few times on us, then we are probably not going to just sell it because of the money we would lose on it. That doesn't mean we'll be happy with it though.

Quote:


In short, any measurement that doesn't measure a particular person or person's perception is not going to be predictive of that person or person's behavior with respect to quality. That's why we're always surprised when people buy a product that we engineers can "prove" is inferior to our own product.





Aren't humans dumb? Man, I'd hate to be one of those.

Thanks again for the contribution, it's most appreciated. Also, if you stick around you'll probably find some very "interesting" examples of psychology at its best/worst (myself included)

--------------------
Brent
--------------------
9 out of 10 people I prove wrong agree that I'm right. The other person is my wife.
--------------------


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Ian
Member


Reged: 09/13/01
Posts: 332
Loc: Sunnyvale, CA, Santa Clara
Re: IT industry accepted definitions of quality.... [Re: SqaSharma]
      #435357 - 11/22/07 12:35 PM

Here are the 'usual suspects'.

http://www.qualitydigest.com/html/qualitydef.html

--------------------
Regards

Ian
http://sqa.net


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brentpaine
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Reged: 03/09/07
Posts: 3755
Loc: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Re: IT industry accepted definitions of quality.... [Re: Ian]
      #435358 - 11/22/07 12:39 PM

Quote:


Error-free, value-added care and service that meets and/or exceeds both the needs and legitimate expectations of those served as well as those within the Medical Center.




HA! This one obviously wasn't written by someone who has ever been involved in QA.

Thanks Ian! This is both useful to the original question and may also be used as an amusing sidebar to distract me for the remainder of the day.

--------------------
Brent
--------------------
9 out of 10 people I prove wrong agree that I'm right. The other person is my wife.
--------------------


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Shane_MacLaughlin
Super Member


Reged: 09/22/05
Posts: 1736
Loc: Dublin, Ireland
Re: IT industry accepted definitions of quality.... [Re: brentpaine]
      #435454 - 11/23/07 01:09 AM

[ramble]

Quote:

Yes, Gerald Weinberg said "Quality is value to some person or persons." And Philip Crosby said "Quality is conformance to standards" which seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum.

I guess it depends whether or not we are talking about quality as metaphysical abstractions or whether we are talking about quality as measurable attributes.




Interesting comparison, BJ. The problem I have with the first definition is that it demands a subject, and hence seems to deny the notion of intrinsic quality. If quality is (percieved) value, how are we to tell whether the quality lies with the object rather than the subject? Perhaps you could say that the quality is in how the subject relates to the object, but this does not sit well with me either. If you put a Mac user in front of a Windows PC they might have a very different notion of the quality of the system that they are using to an experienced Windows user. Sure, the software should be fit for purpose but so should the user. I don't believe putting our Mac user in front of Windows has damaged any of it's intrinsic qualities, if such things exist...

If "Quality is value to some person or persons", surely value also requires people to hold it? Thus you could simply say that "Quality is value" or even "quality is merit or worth". Don't ask me why, but I prefer this simpler definition where the subject is implied, probably because it gives me back my (probably falacious) notion of intrinsic quality. Whatever floats ones boat I guess. Maybe taking away the "some person or persons" leaves you with a possible implication that "Quality is (the same) value (to all people)" which doesn't really work either. Ok, back go the aforementioned persons, and off goes my intrinsic quality.

"Quality is conformance to standards" I have real problems with because it implies that the value of the object is determined entirely by the process used to create it, where the process is largely independent of the people carrying it out. If we accept that quality is in some small way linked to value, value in turn is often determined by desirability, which goes way beyond good process. Good ideas clearly have value. IMHO, they also have quality in that they enable us to develop the solutions the customer desires, whether it's a piece of software or a new flavour of ice cream.

In addition to value, perhaps quality has something to do with consensus. For example, I agree with Mr Weinberg that this is a quality thread. How many more votes does it take to make it true? The "person or persons" bit is starting to make some sense at last. C'mon persons!

[/ramble]

--------------------
My LinkedIn profile

Edited by smacl (11/23/07 01:13 AM)


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brentpaine
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Reged: 03/09/07
Posts: 3755
Loc: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Re: IT industry accepted definitions of quality.... [Re: Shane_MacLaughlin]
      #435526 - 11/23/07 06:51 AM

Shane, I totally agree with you about consensus. this is also huge, because a lot of the time what you thought was a good source, really, isn't. For instance, I recently read an article online for this game I was anticipating for a while. To my disappointment, it blasted the game and, basically, said it was crap. Luckily, using my superior skills in consensus, I read some additional sites to find that the game was receiving acclaim from everywhere else I looked, including users.

What I think that consensus does is provide you with a good base of sample data from which you can draw a final conclusion. So I guess that we could re-write the definition of quality again and have it say: "It doesn't matter what you think quality is, unless that's what everyone else thinks also."

Also, since I have a better consensus now, I will say that I agree that standards suck! In support of this, we could always say that, "Quality has never been found at the bottom of a pile of reports on my desk."

I think that standards have their place in the testing process, but I don't think that conforming to standards to represent quality will provide a superior product, at all. If anything, I think it may create tunnel vision on a project because you are focused more on conforming to those standards than you are to judging how this "feels" for you. I mean I don't believe that we would ever have been introduced to concepts such as Exploratory Testing if Quality could be so easily defined as a measurable entity.

P.S. I had more profound things to say here, but it took too long for me to say them and I timed out, booooooo.

--------------------
Brent
--------------------
9 out of 10 people I prove wrong agree that I'm right. The other person is my wife.
--------------------


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Shane_MacLaughlin
Super Member


Reged: 09/22/05
Posts: 1736
Loc: Dublin, Ireland
Re: IT industry accepted definitions of quality.... [Re: brentpaine]
      #435544 - 11/23/07 08:05 AM

Quote:

P.S. I had more profound things to say here, but it took too long for me to say them and I timed out, booooooo.




Brent, when you've lost enough posts you will get the Pavlovian reaction to copy all to the clipboard before posting.

The consensus thing works well for me because to some extent it re-establishes the notion of instrinsic quality, albeit a long time after the fact. I'm not so sure why I find this important, probably down to reading Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance at way too impressionable an age. Should've stuck with thrillers and sci-fi...

--------------------
My LinkedIn profile


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