Agree/Disagree? 'Good Enough' Quality Will Do
Let's put you on the hot spot. You are forced to agree or disagree with the following statement, and defend your answer. What would you say?
In the digital enterprise, time to market is critical and 'good enough' quality will do.
Here's how I answer: I disagree. Here is my reasoning — see if you concur.
My reasoning: Yes, time to market can be critical. But no, 'good enough' quality will not do. Let me give you an example.
One of our clients is the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control. One of the projects we worked on was vaccines for children. Literally their lives are at stake. An 80% or 95% or even 99% quality rate is not good enough. That would mean 1 out of 100 children could die because of our mistakes. You'll never convince me that's acceptable.
But as I said, yes, time to market can be critical. Suppose a vaccine comes out for a new, virulent disease. Of course you want to disseminate the relevant business rules into the field ASAP.
I believe professionals' thinking about quality is characterized by several basic misconceptions.
Misconception 1: One size fits all subject domains.
In some domains, quality is not the primary concern in dealing with quality and business rules. Take marketing. If you hit an 80% mark, sometimes you're considered a genius. Actually, in direct mail campaigns, 5% is great.
But in immunology, 80% means you could kill 20 of 100 children. That's a very big difference.
This is no esoteric matter. If 80% quality is adequate, you may not want to invest money in testing your business rules. Just roll out a solution as quickly as possible and save on testing. But if you need 99% or 99.99% quality, you'd better test your business rules long and hard.
Misconception 2: Testing of software and testing of business rules are inseparable.
Wrong! Testing of software and testing of business rules are completely separable. Whether software supporting some domain is glitch-free is a completely different issue than whether your business rules for that domain are correct, complete, and compliant. Proven methods exist for validating and verifying true business rules independently of applications. All it requires is the right approach.
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