Who is in the Quality Relationship?

Quality is a Relationship

Quality is described in the Rapid Software Testing school as a relationship rather than objective properties of a product.

It took me a while, but I’m beginning to understand: quality often seems objective because we are able to infer the goals and desires of users. We naturally identify properties of a product which seem likely to detract from those goals or desires. These properties then become representative of the quality. We possess this ability to infer quality from our shared human experience.

At the moment I’m interested in refining the definition of quality a little more specifically. My first question is, “Who is in the Quality Relationship?”

Who is in the Quality Relationship?

If shareholders are those responsible for producing a product, and users are those who use that product for their own goals, is the quality relationship between all three members? Are there multiple quality relationships between the different members? Or is the quality relationship specifically between users and a product?

Case One:

For instance: a user might find a product of extremely high quality for their purposes.

However, the company that made that product goes under because the cost of that quality was too high.

I don’t think it’s practical to say that the quality of the product was “bad” because the company went under.

Case two:

Another instance: a company releases a product because they wanted to meet a deadline. The product was not suitable for the users’ purposes and they wanted their money back.

I don’t think it’s practical to say that the quality of the product was “good” because the company released it on a certain date.

Variation of Case two:

Let’s say this company had great customer service, and those customers were satisfied in the end: enough to continue doing business with them.

In this case I believe we have a fourth member, a second product: the customer service. In that regard, the relationship is still between the users and product.

Preliminary Conclusion

Quality is a relationship between a product and users.

What other cases or arguments are there? Please let me know!

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