Monday, July 6, 2020

Quality is a team issue

I forgot where I found the following quote but I copied and printed it out as a reminder for myself:

Quality is a team issue. The most diligent developer placed on a team that just doesn’t care will find it difficult to maintain the enthusiasm needed to fix niggling problems. The problem is further exacerbated if the team actively discourages the developer from spending time on these fixes.

It remains one of the biggest lessons I learned during my software career and it manifested itself in 2 ways:

  • Supermotivated developers eager to learn new things ending in a burn/born out after six months on a project. I saw really talented and motivated people (and especially these people) getting completely fed up by an organization not willing to move. I even saw people leave the IT industry because of this.
  • A negative trend in general software quality when one or more of the team members didn’t put the quality bar at the same level as the rest of the team. How much we tried to convince the developer to raise the bar, it unfortunately always ended to a lowering of the quality standard of the whole team instead. (See the Broken Window story)

Luckily I’ve also seen the other way around; when everyone aims for the same quality level (no matter if you are a UX’r, developer, analyst, tester, architect, …) than miracles happen. No problem becomes too complex to tackle and speed of delivery increases without sacrificing on quality.

But it all starts with one common value; that quality is a team issue…