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Integral Quality – Live at #AgileTD (TESTHEAD)

On November 12, 2015, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing
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Wow, we are at the closing keynote. Didn’t I just get here? Seriously, I know it’s Thursday afternoon, but time has sort of lost its meaning to me these past few days. Nevertheless, we are at the final keynote talk, and Olaf Lewitz will be closing out Agile Testing Days.

Have we considered the ways that amazing things get created? Is it all an obvious need that just gets met, or does it happen because we notice something, and then we push forward because we believe in the cause and delivering something to meet a need. I think truly great initiatives start from the latter, and many times, I think serendipity has a lot to do with it as well.

Too often, I think we look at what others do, but we don’t turn that lens on ourselves. rather than “what can the organization do to be successful, with me coming along for the ride” perhaps a better question is “what can I do to make this organization amazing?”

Olaf asked us to say what we are grateful for through this conference. It would be too messy to do this in person, but there is something I can do, and I’ll do it here 🙂 :

Thank you, Madeleine Greip, and the Agile Testing Days organizers, for inviting me to speak at this wonderful event.

Thank you, Meike Mersche, for being a wonderful tour guide, showing me around Potsdam, and buying me Red Bull Cola, as well as being a bright and happy face to see every morning.

Thank you to each and every person who attended my talk, gave positive feedback, retweeted or wrote about what I said (especially Kim Knüp, who dedicated a full blog post of her own to my talk).

Thank you, all speakers, for your time and your talent and energy. You’ve given me so much to write about these past few days.

Thank you, Albert Gareev, for being my partner in crime and asking me to make 2015 a year of Accessibility, and challenging me to make it the primary focus of what I wrote and spoke about for the year. I have learned a lot because of that, and I think there’s so much more we can do :).

Thanks to the readers of TESTHEAD, for being willing to follow along with me when I go on these mad dashes at conferences and posting a dozen or two posts in just a few days.

One of the interesting comments Olaf shared was the idea that, if we remember back to The Matrix, there’s a metaphor of a blue pill and a red pill. Blue pill means ignorance and just going with the flow. Red pill means waking up and seeing things as they really are, good and bad. Interestingly, when we have the ability to make choices, we tend to be solidly on the side of the option that gives us choice, and specifically those options that we genuinely understand what is happening.

“Options have value. Options expire. Never commit early unless you know why.”

Quality is, frankly, a bizarre thing. It’s not elegant and clean. In fact, quality is messy, nebulous, and wholly subjective. Jerry Weinberg’s statement of quality is “quality is value to some person”. With the number of persons out there, there are just as many definitions of quality as there are people to perceive it. Therefore, the first person who has to decide that quality is sufficient is me. Point blank, would I want to use the software I am testing? If so, why? If not, why not? If I have a steady litany of why not’s, then I have a duty and obligation to voice those concerns, even if I may be the only person who recognizes them as such. In short, I have to know what I want first. From there, I need to know what the organization wants, and then I need to know what my customers want (and by that, I mean what all my customers want).

Human organizations have had several revolutions. First was the Tribal Revolution, followed by the Agrarian Revolution, then the Industrial Revolution, and currently the Information Revolution. If James Burke is right, we are in a period of transition, where what was once known and owned by an elite few, will be available to everyone. The bigger question is… what’s next? What’s the next big revolution? What will the new paradigm be when it comes? How will we fit in it (assuming it happens in our lifetimes)? We have a chance to shape that new future, and we have the opportunity to start with ourselves and our organizations. If we want to see change and better quality. Let’s start with ourselves, and take it from there.

 

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