Process vs. results

Laurent Bossavit tells a story about following “the process” to fix a customer problem. The only problem is, at the end of it all, the customer still has a problem.

Laurent writes:

My version of the Zeroth Law of Quality: if you’re not solving the customer’s problems, it doesn’t matter what the “quality” of your product is; or that of your development process.

I agree with Laurent. And that’s one of the issues I have with methods and mindsets thats focus inward on process and efficiency: they miss the essential point that “quality is value to some person.” The ultimate measure of quality is that someone (or enough someones to keep the business going) is willing to pay (and pay more than it cost to produce) for the product.

If your process gets you there, that’s great. But focus on process and efficiency means diddly squat if you’re building the wrong product or building a product that doesn’t meet the customers definition of a good value.