What Defines Quality?

We use Scrum to build high-quality products, but what defines quality?

When you begin a sprint you have a goal to have certain functionality ready for use by a set time. You measure the quality of that functionality by testing it for use. How well does it work? Does it fulfil the standards you set out for it to reach?

The attributes of the quality standard for the specific product should be what the target market requires. Quality is, more than anything else, a judgment rendered by that market to what would suit it best, and it is our job to anticipate that judgment. Effective product owners can describe those attributes in ways that the developers can implement.

William Edwards Deming once said that "Quality is defined by the customer."

However, customers often don’t know what they want, so it’s your job as a product owner to predict what their needs will be and then proactively work to improve on what’s been built.

Let's say a client comes to me with a request for a system to improve cell phone management. If I build a system that the customers find too complicated to use or that doesn’t give them the improvements in management that they need, it’s lacks quality.

If however, the cell phone management system leads to minimizing cell phone cost, improved device tracking, flagging high spend trends and delivering an effective reporting system, that would be an indication of quality.

My standard for quality is value to my client. Because that's the foundation of a business relationship that is sustainable in the future.

Quality is value going hand in hand with fitness for use.