27 Mar The Five Perspectives Every Tester Should Know
The following is a blog based on the Quality in a Quick video episode “What is Quality?” which aired on YouTube on January 8th, 2018. Watch the video here.
A person’s definition of “quality” is influenced by their viewpoint and expectations. If we were to ask one-thousand people – stakeholders or end-users – to define “quality”, we’d get one-thousand different responses.
To better understand quality from a user’s outlook we must understand the five perspectives of quality. These five perspectives are transcendent based, product based, user based, development and manufacturer based, and value-based.
The last time I leased a vehicle I found myself entrenched in the “five perspectives” as I navigated through my decision-making process.
First, transcendent based. I wasn’t quite certain what color I wanted (although I knew what I didn’t want – no shades of white, cream, or olive-drab green for me thank you very much). But I was confident that I’d know it when I see it. THAT is “transcendent based”.
Then we have product based. I knew, absolutely knew (no wishy-washy, indecisiveness on these) there are specific features the vehicle had to have – hard-top convertible (I love ragtops but too noisy for phone calls even with the top up), enough space in the trunk to store a Samsonite carry-on even with the top down, quiet enough with the top down to have a conference call on my Bluetooth, and a few others.
Third on our list – user based. The vehicle had to be fit for use…my use. If not, will I truly be satisfied? Is it comfortable or do the seats feel like the metal, cheap seats at Fenway? Can I drive it safely? I’ve got five beautiful grandkids I need to think about! Is the cupholder convenient? I need to be able to easily and safely grab my dark roast Dunkin’ out of the cup holder.
Of course, there’s no avoiding the fourth – development and manufacturer based. Obviously, the car manufacturer has certain specifications and design requirements of their own. And they may nail it. They may get it 100% right. Put a check in “meets all requirements” But to me, that still may not be a “quality” vehicle. (I looked at the Lexus IS 350C hardtop convertible. Beautiful car but trunk waaaay too small. I’m not sure even my granddaughter’s PJ Masks Owlette lunch box would fit.)
And last on the list – value based. I had a budget. I had to make sure the vehicle I chose met my definition of quality within certain guidelines of what I could afford. Was I getting my money’s worth or, better yet, more than my money’s worth?
These are the five perspectives of quality. Very important to think about, not only when you’re developing an application but also when you’re testing it. You’ve got to consider other’s points of view.
The five perspectives apply to both the producer’s view and the customer’s view. However, they each have different perspectives for the five perspectives (I hope that makes sense) and sometimes the perspectives conflict. The producer is worried about requirements. Does it meet the specifications? Does it meet the user requirements? And there’s the customer’s point of view. And the customer’s point of view, reliant upon the user-based perspective having to do with fit for use. I was a developer for many years. I can tell you there were applications we developed, we programmed, we designed, and we implemented perfectly.
Yet still, the end user said, “You know what, this isn’t right, this isn’t what I need.” And we had to go back and make enhancements.
Points of view…perspectives…are important! Be sure to keep them in mind as you’re designing test cases in your test plan.
If you have any feedback, any questions, or any topics you’d like to see in future blogs or “Quality in a Quick” videos please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m Bob Crews, President and Co-Founder of Checkpoint Technologies.
Thank you so much. Make it a great day!