Is Quality an Absolute?

August 13, 2009 Mike Cottmeyer

Last post I made the point that anything you build… any document you create… that doesn’t result in revenue for the business… is wasting time and money. Personally, unless you build software as a hobby… I am not sure how you can argue with that.

We build software so we can sell software.

One of my readers on Leading Agile made a comment that my post was one sided. Peter’s point was that we shouldn’t subordinate quality, performance, time to market… and any other number of other software metrics… for the sake of making money. Okay… sure… but who says you have to build crap?

My point was that there are lots of teams building great software… teams that think they are doing great work… teams with great culture… defect free code… and terrific velocity… that are still not making any money. If you build crap… I doubt anyone will buy it. On the other hand… what good is high-quality software if no one uses it?

Value is about building a product of sufficient quality that people want to use.

At the end of the day… value is determined by the people who buy our products. Personally… I don’t believe there is an absolute here. We have to balance the time, cost, scope, and quality constraints to get products to market so people will give us money to keep going. At the end of the day, selling software is a prerequisite for being paid to build software.

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