Joy Shafer, Quardev
From the very beginning of the project your team has had discussions about quality. You have unanimously agreed it‘s a top priority. Everyone wants to deliver a product of which they can be proud. Six months later, you find yourself neck-deep in bugs and fifty-percent behind schedule. The project team decides to defer fixing half of the bugs to a future release. What happened to making quality a priority?
One of your partners is discontinuing support for a product version on which your online service is dependent. You have known this was coming for years; you are actually four releases behind your partner‘s current version. The upgrade of your online service has been put off repeatedly. Now the team is scrambling to get the needed changes done before your service is brought down by the drop in support. You are implementing the minimum number of features required to support a newer version. In fact, you‘re not even moving to the most current version—it was deemed too difficult and time-consuming to tackle at this point. You are still going to be a release behind. Are you ever going to catch up? Is minimal implementation always going to be the norm? Where is your focus on quality?
Do these scenarios sound familiar? Why is it often so difficult to efficiently deliver a high-quality product? What circumstances sabotage our best intentions for quality? And, more importantly, how can we deliver quality products in spite of these saboteurs?
One of the most common and insidious culprits is the habit of sacrificing long-term goals for short-term goals. This can lead to myriad, long standing issues on a project. It is also one of the most difficult problems to eradicate. There are other saboteurs: competing priorities, resource deprivation, dysfunctional team dynamics, and misplaced reward systems, to name a few. In this paper I‘ll focus on the quality saboteur of sacrificing long-term goals for short-term goals.
I will discuss the benefits that can be gained when you make the right long-term investments and the types of problems you‘ll see if your team is solely pursuing short-term goals. I will show you practical strategies for slaying this saboteur or at least mitigating its effects.