Wrapping up from a fairly long day of working - and attempting to balance home life along with it - I went to the bookmarks I keep in the "Thinking" folder of the browser I most often use. I clicked on metacool... The topic was the "Thought of the Day" and it was just what I needed to hear tonight...
Sometimes, as a tester, I get really "worried" about releases. I wonder how many customers will be "happy" and how many will be "disappointed" in the latest/greatest/newest release. Scenarios play through my head, especially those I could not get to in testing, and most of these can have potentially negative outcomes... But one thing I have neglected to remember... the customer has a voice... and if we (the organization/stakeholders/developers/testers) listen, we can use this to benefit the product and the reputation of the organization...
What do I mean? I not only "serve" customers, I am a customer. And as a customer I am more likely to stay with an organization/product that admits it is fallible and works with me to meet my needs than to stay with one that claims to have it all figured out (or one that has a reputation of meeting the needs of most others).
A couple of posts ago, I talked about A Revelation... I had about customers (because it related to myself, of course), and Markus Gartner commented about not knowing "what to do about it either". But I thought about the "Head of Lettuce" philosophy that I see at the grocery store and I think people/customers will eventually make/take a stand against poor quality/high prices. [The "Head of Lettuce" philosophy that I see is because of what I perceive as a consumer in the produce section every summer. Lettuce becomes very pricey, quality goes down, consumers let it wilt, the price goes back down, the quality back up. I have seen this go on for years (mostly in summer when 'salad' is an entree).]
I mention this scenario only to give credence to the blog post that I read, or rather my thoughts on it. Only three sentences in length... yet it reveals much about the future of software development - to me. The customer drives the market. Perfection in software development is not possible... customer satisfaction is. A customer can be satisfied knowing that they matter. Perfect software is... well... an illusion.
However, when we learn to listen to our customers, and fulfill what they need, we will find success. The problem with quality is not as likely in the product as in the production of it. We cannot get so carried away with the technology as to lose focus of what it it for. It is to help us... to help our customers... to get our jobs done faster/better/more accurately. That is all that anyone really wants. That is satisfaction - getting the task-at-hand done so you can move on to another one that needs attention (and isn't there always another one?).
Let's not forget what it is all about... customer satisfaction... not perfection. That is what quality is all about.