What is Quality To a QA Engineer?
We talk a lot about the importance of quality products. But what does the word “quality” really mean? Is it a subjective or objective trait? And how can anyone strive to achieve high quality without first understanding what that term actually entails? Over the next few weeks, we invite you to join us as we explore the meaning of the word “quality,” and try to understand the role it plays in our everyday lives. With this post, we get the perspective of a person who literally has “quality” in their title: A quality assurance engineer.
If you are a QA engineer, you may – at some point – ask the question, “what is software quality?” Does your definition influence your ability to recognize true quality?
Before you answer, maybe it’s easier to decide what you think the term “quality” means in the grand scheme of things. What makes a quality person? What makes a quality smartphone? What other aspects of your daily life do you think exemplify quality? Do you see a pattern in what you deem to be high, or low, quality?
Now throw all of that perception away, because as a QA your opinion has little or no meaning in the development process.
As a quality assurance engineer, you learn very quickly that quality is objective – or, at least, that you must think of it that way. Your perception of quality rarely comes into play, and when it does it usually does not work in a product development environment – by this point brainstorming is over and the concept is on the table.
You may have already noticed that I used the term “perception of quality,” leading you to think that I actually mean quality is subjective. You’re quite correct. Quality is subjective, only not in a product development environment. If quality was subjective in the development process, everyone would have their own idea as to what needs to be done to create a quality product, inviting project chaos.
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