We, software testers, think about quality all the time. After all, this is what we do - help gain quality for the product we work on. But what is Quality? What defines our goal, the target of our daily effort to improve the product?
I guess most of us don't think about it quite often, and strange as it seems, sometimes we don't have to. We all have a notion of Quality. and we know when our product has it.
Sure, we can think a product has less quality than the other guy. But when we see an iPhone and a 50$ phone X (even if we don't know the price) we will surely say that the iPhone has more quality.
However, along the way, we might take more interest in the everyday tasks, and get distracted from the quality in favor of bugs. Sometimes a bug looks so bad from our point of view, but we miss the big picture - the product quality might still be high, because the bug is in a remote place, because it is a rare bug and not so important, or just because the product is far ahead from its Competitors. I think that in every task we do, we must have a vision of quality in our mind, to have a clear purpose. Just like I'm sure that the CEO of Bentley has quality as his top priority.
This is how I think quality should be defined. I see three parts of quality definition:
1. Product: How the product itself looks & behaves. To achieve that I will use the Bach-Bolton Heuristic Test Strategy Model. Quality is Quality Criteria & Perceived Quality.
2. Customer: How will the customer find our product. A little from "charisma" from section 1 above, also customer's profiles, what they anticipate, desire. Customer satisfaction is quality.
3. Market: How appealing is the product in the eyes of the customers relative to other products in the market. Being better in some important ways from the market is quality.
The tester is traditionally concerned about the product, maybe customer, but should also check the market.
The product must have some of each of the 3 to have quality. As a tester, to the above end, I target my resources. The way - depends on the situation.
Remember that a product can be successful when he thinks about the customer (in this case = price) and not about the product. If this is the target of this product - then all is well. Same for a product that is more advanced (market) but lacks the product quality.
However, whether you want quality or just fast revenue, the customer should be addressed one way or another.