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Metrics to Reduce Risk in Product Ship Decisions – Part II – Define Quality (#2 in the series Metrics to Reduce Risk in Product Ship Decisions)
By Johanna Rothman

In order to define and assess shipment risks, product quality must be defined first. Grady defines quality as choosing one of these three priorities:

  1. Minimize time to market (decrease engineering cost and schedule)
  2. Maximize Customer satisfaction (determining features and working with your customers)
  3. Minimize Low defects

The key to defining quality is to choose only one of these priorities as your top priority. For any given product, one of these models is your top priority, and the other two are optimized within that context. Some people are not convinced that they only have one top priority. Here is a check to verify that choice: If it is 3 weeks before your scheduled ship date, the bug count is higher than you would like, and you didn’t quite get the last feature in, what does management choose to do? If management’s choice is to ship anyway, then time to market is your definition of quality. If management chooses to ship as soon as that feature is installed, then customer satisfaction is your top priority. If management chooses to wait to fix the bugs, then low defects is your definition of quality.

For too long, SQA groups have focused on low defects as a measure of quality. It is no longer adequate to define quality just as defect levels, if it ever was. In the the case below, we will see how the different measures of quality require different metrics.

Original article can be found at: http://www.jrothman.com/Papers/QW96.html

Johanna Rothman consults, speaks, and writes on managing high-technology product development. Johanna is the author of Manage It!’Your Guide to Modern Pragmatic Project Management’. She is the coauthor of the pragmatic Behind Closed Doors, Secrets of Great Management, and author of the highly acclaimed Hiring the Best Knowledge Workers, Techies & Nerds: The Secrets and Science of Hiring Technical People. And, Johanna is a host and session leader at the Amplifying Your Effectiveness (AYE) conference (http://www.ayeconference.com). You can see Johanna’s other writings at http://www.jrothman.com.

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