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Quality
An insight about Quality

What is Quality?

Quality...
We all know what we mean, without knowing what it is. This is a contradiction. Some things are better than other, in other words, they have major Quality. But, trying to define what is quality, making abstraction of objects that possess it, it is impossible to find the words to describe it. But, if nobody knows what it is, in practice, quality does not exist. At contrary, quality exists...
Why does people pay a fortune for given objects and would throw others in the garbage?

Obviousely because some things are better than others. But, what does mean that "better"?

The answer could be: "If you can't define Quality, what does you imagine its existence?"

And to this question we could give following answer: "Something exists if the world may not work without it."

Quality is independant of any shapes and forms, thus Quality is not an object, it is an Event. Following Pirsig, "Quality is the Buddha. Quality is scientific reality. Quality is the goal of Art".

Following Simone Brero (Bocconi Ticonzero University), for the ones who operates in industry, the Quality can be defined in the most pragmatic, objective and tangible way.
Following Reginald Schaughnessy, chairman of Iso's Technical Committee, that extends the standards of the Iso 9000 serial), the development of Quality must be coupled with the development of creativity and technology. "Iso 9000 is the foundation, the rest is up to you."

For the Eoq (European Organization for Quality) to fulfill its own vision and mission, it will need to reinvent itself... The foundations of standardization, control and assurance must be extended significantly to embrace... intagibles. Intanginbles such as the quality of leadership, having committed employees, and being customer driven are more important than tagibles when it comes to successful organizations.

Quality is thus an aspect of life that cannot be limited to pure rationality, it doesn't take into account only the problem of how to measure the tangible, but also the "immaterial", in other words, what stands behind the objects that gives them a meaning, and that doesn't refer to "rules", but also to "values"

Quality is not only the preoccupation of technical peoples, but of all the ones who operates in the organization at different levels of responsibility.
Quality - A definition

W e use here the definition of David A. Garvin (associated professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School) in his paper published by Harvard Business Review in 1987. He gives eight dimensions:

- Performance. Main operational characteristics of a given product.

- Features. Aspects of a product that even not mandatory for the correct
  functionality, are well accepted by the client (nice to have).

- Reliability. It is the correct work of the product along the time.

- Conformity to the specifications.

- Durability. Time to failure.

- Assistance.

- Estethic.

- Perceived Quality. It'a about the opinion that people has about a product or a
  brand.

Fortunately for people interseted in Quality, many has been told on the subject. A lot of initiatives have been undertaken to improve Quality. The area is very wide and a lot can be done. To have major understanding on Quality, the interested reader can search on internet the items below and broaden his/her knowledge of the subject. Obviousely, the list is not exhaustive.

Total Quality Management and Quality
Benchmarking and Quality
Key Performance Indicators and Quality
Function Point Analysis and Quality
ISO Certification and Quality
The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the Deming Prize, etc. and Quality
Capability Maturity Model and Quality
IT Metrics and Quality
Value, Software and ROI -- Why measuring returns is not so simple
ROI & IT Puchasing and Quality
Decision and Quality

How do we build Quality at Atlantis Software?

Atlantis Software builds the quality of the programs using proven methodologies, methods and tools.

Those methodologies imply a bi-univoque relation between the client's wish and the result we produce. All the work we do relies on the Project Management Methodology inspired by international standards such as Prince2 and PMP.

This Project Management Methodology encompasses all the steps of the clients relation, from initial communication, sales process, scope definition, estimation, communication, development, quality control, change management, human resource management, risk management, procurement management and stakeholder management.

The second aspect of our Quality-based process is to rely on a standardized process, we adopt the CMMi Level 3 processes.

The third aspect is the interface. We rely on an existing methodology to develop the interface of our applications / programs. This methodology is based on Trident, which relies itself on the functional analysis.

Eventually, the fourth aspect is a measure of the Quality based on the ISO standard for software development as well as metrics and a strong Validation process that integrates heavily the client's recommendations.


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