About the Mindset for Quality
Post from November 17, 2016 (↻ June 6, 2021), filed under Web Development.
In my view, quality starts with quality thinking. (Perhaps everything does start with thinking, but that’s when the philosopher in me would win the upper hand.) Quality thinking is broad, but it quickly leads to a quality mindset. This mindset, now, I’ve long regarded as critical, and in The Little Book of Website Quality Control I gave it a few good paragraphs. As follow.
The most important factor when it comes to practical quality is the mindset. The greatest quality initiative is not worth much if it’s not clear to the team and enterprise why quality matters, and how quality is beneficial for them. The key to a conducive mindset is communication; a potential trap rewards.
Communication is the primary way to spread and instill a mindset of quality, with quality as the goal and guiding principle.
This communication should sporadically repeat, but doesn’t need to consist of overt reminders on why quality matters and how it benefits everybody. If we want to repeat the essence of both answers here, then: quality is important to deliver work that is good by professional standards and benefits everyone, because products of quality are easier and more pleasant to consume and work with.
Communication is, for that reason, important because we all benefit from being reminded of our priorities.
Based on this, communication can now range from bylines in regular company and team communications, thanking everyone for the vigilance to produce good work, to dedicated emails emphasizing the goal and importance of quality.
Rewards, then, are no key for a quality mindset. We should avoid rewards. Rewards might compel people to participate in quality-related events but they don’t necessarily compel people to embrace quality (in fact, they rarely do). They seem to distract from, rather than point to the message.
I’ve had some such experiences with international teams, where rewards did help draw attention to quality-related initiatives, but didn’t lead to a better understanding of, or a higher motivation, for more quality. What was more effective was communication, notably through managers. Hierarchy and authority can, of course, be great facilitators in our quest to improve the quality of our work.
I’m Jens Oliver Meiert, and I’m an engineering manager and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to the W3C and the WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. Other than that, I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.
If you have questions or suggestions about what I write, please leave a comment (if available) or a message.
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Perhaps my most comprehensive book: The Web Development Glossary (2020). With explanations and definitions for literally thousands of terms from Web Development and related fields, building on Wikipedia as well as the MDN Web Docs. Available at Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play Books, and Leanpub.