I saw a cool article by Jeff Patton on Sticky Minds today about “The Forgotten Side of Quality.” Strictly speaking, it probably has more to do with requirements management or software design than testing or quality assurance specifically. Interesting food for thought though. In addressing the Kano method, he notes:
The Kano Method separates product features into general categories. The three big ones are “must haves,” like: brakes on a car (we need those); “one-dimensional” items like gas mileage on a car (higher mileage is better); and attractive quality or “delighters” (leather seats in my German car are a delighter). The idea is that your product should have all the must haves, maximize the one-dimensionals, and toss in some delighters.
However, later the distinction between subjective and objective quality gets mentioned, specifically:
Discussions of quality have revolved around the two aspects of subjectivity and objectivity since the time of Aristotle. Embedded in this objective-subjective split is the idea that objective quality pertains to the ‘conformance to requirements’ while subjective quality pertains to the ‘satisfaction of users.’
Hmm…sounds suspiciously like verification vs. validation, doesn’t it?
Anyway, some interesting thoughts for prioritizing requirements/features and analyzing the relative “quality” of a product, whether it’s a German car or a piece of software.