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The quantity of quality by Ard Kramer

  • 09/09/2010
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  • Posted by EuroSTAR

Thinking about definitions is fun because we often make a lot of assumptions. Those assumptions are mostly based on visual impressions . For example: at work we had a discussion about the definition of “shoe”. We all know what a shoe is but we can we define it right away? You will get into the same discussion when you are looking at definitions for software testing . A few days ago I bought the book “Test Woordenboek” (“Testing Dictionary”) by Erik van Veenendaal and Meile Posthuma. Writing this book is a good initiative because it compares the different definitions used in the different test methodologies, such as ISTQB and TMAP. This eliminates a lot of discussion amongst testconsultants because you can easily check which definition is used.

One of the first things I looked up in my new dictionary was the definition of “Quality”. This definition refers to the IEEE610 standard and links quality to meeting the requirements and expectations. I realized that this definition of quality, quantifies quality or another words, makes quality measurable, and takes the subjective angle out of the equation. For me, this measurable definition raises mixed emotions, seeing that the concept of quality often has a subjective ring to it, which is maintained by the long history of philosophical discussion around “quality”.
Even in the logical, day-to-day world of IT we work in, we can have quite a lot of discussions among testers, executives, developers and designers on quality. Using the definition of IEEE610 to quantify quality into a measurable concept should make the testers’ job a lot easier. With clear and measurable requirements many of the discussions and uncertainties surrounding a product can be avoided. Well written requirements give a guideline of what can be expected as the final product although the philosophical discussions can’t be eliminated so quality can’t be always be quantified…
Ard Kramer,
Esther Jongste: thanks for your input

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