Building Quality Products
Bugs are the bane of existence for product teams. They frustrate our users and screw up our deliveries. Stacy Kirk, founder/CEO of QualtityWorks, shares the true meaning of building quality products, how to measure software quality, role of diversity, and more.
What is Software Quality?
Before answering that, it's important to understand "What Software Quality is NOT?"
- It's not only about shipping 100% bug free products
- It's not even about purely testing out the functionality
Software quality attributes primarily lie in the Value that a product provides to its customers, bugs or no bugs.
So the question is…
How to measure Software Quality?
The true test of Software Quality lies in the question “Can we make the customer happy?”. To achieve this it is important to come up with test cases by focussing on two things:
- Learning about the target customers of the product
- Mapping out their mindset and behaviours
Getting into customer first mindset
Creating useful and high-quality test cases requires customer empathy. A good way to achieve that is by using UI/UX methodologies to drill down user personas in an attempt to understand their needs.
Alignment of product quality metrics across product, dev and QA teams is another crucial aspect of gettng into a customer first mindset. For example: Pass rate of test-cases as a metric for QA is futile. Instead, are we offering some value, can we make customer's happy are the right metrics to consider. To align on the right set of metrics, undertanding high priority user journeys and using customer feedback loops can be helpful.
What does it take to ship products with high quality?
"Best products come from teams that go to lunch together" - Stacy Kirk
One of the biggest challenges product owners face is the disconnect from the development team. What seems to work in building and shipping out products with high quality is:
- Inclusion of QA team from ideation stage: Including software quality testing team with product team encourages members to play a strategic role in determining different ways in which the target user could use the product.
- Testing at every stage: Leveraging beta release to gain feedback from actual customers helps stay on the right track.
- A Diverse Team: Most products have a diverse group of users who share common goals/interests. Having a diverse team strengthens the overall product by incorporating different perpectives early on.
How to know when software quality is good enough?
The relevant question to gauge quality is - "Is someone willing to buy?".
Before proceeding with iterations on the product, it is good practice to release the core functionality and see if customers are finding it useful.
When QA team builds test-cases by thinking about all possible ways of providing value to the customer, product quality is bound to be high. Even if there are bugs in the functionality, customers will be more than willing to use the product and will in turn provide valuable feedback to help address their use case.
Interested in the full episode? Check out Building Quality Products episode of The Product Experience Podcast by Mind The Product - here.