Jack McDowell, Ying Ki Kwong – Statewide Quality Assurance Program – State of Oregon
This paper treats software development as an emerging phenomenon and explores how the meaning of Quality is dependent on cultural constructs and communities of meaning. The theme for this year’s conference is 2020 vision, and like in Optometry, software quality relies on standards and best practices to produce better software. Frameworks such as Agile, Devops, ISO 12207, ITIL and the PMBOK act like corrective lenses to provide better solutions. However, frameworks and rubrics that are designed a priori fail to address the nuances of emerging phenomenon and constructivist meaning due to implicit bias.
This paper seeks to build on concepts of organizational dynamics and cross-cultural understanding by addressing how software can emerge in reflection of an organization’s culture, providing a meaning of quality that is contextually dependent to that organization. As part of Oregon state government’s effort to respond to the COVID-19 emergency, the authors have observed the interplay of cultural differences and diverging meanings of quality across the state’s many agencies during the state’s response.
We conclude that the meaning of quality exists in the context of a community of meanings, and therefore quality cannot be disassociated from its social environment. This conclusion has important ramifications for quality management with respect to diversity and inclusion.