I will start with a controversial statement: quality is still paramount and customers do care.

I jest, but sometimes I feel that it is a controversial statement. How many times have you run into situations where you are forced to choose between quality, speed, and price, as the so-called Iron Triangle suggests, where 'quality' is often left by the wayside?

It doesn't consider ROI, customer satisfaction, or lower cost of fixing defects when Quality First Mindset is implemented in your organization. The “price” that you are saving in the short term turns out to be lost business and customers in the long term.

I would like to give you examples that happened to me recently.

I was looking for a vacation for my family, and finally we came up with a destination. Very excitingly, I went to a very well-known property rental site to find a condo to rent for a week. We searched and found a perfect property for us, right near the beach. Since I had an account on this site and tried to log in to book a property and to my surprise I could not log in. I encountered multiple error messages. As a QA, I switched browsers, cleared cache, but to no avail. We could not log in to book our trip. I came back to the site that day and had the same experience. I tried to log in through Google and even create a new account but none of these options worked. Frustrated, I went to their competitor who I never used before and booked a property through them. As you can see, the company lost money, and I bet they lost a lot that day while software issues were being fixed.

But that wasn't the end of it. I needed to get plane tickets as well to get to my destination. Once again, I went to the well-known airline website where I had collected miles to purchase the tickets. Initially, everything went smoothly. I was able to log in, find a flight I needed, and was in the checkout flow to purchase them when something strange happened. In the checkout flow, where it asked you to enter an address belonging to the credit card, that feature was broken in the Chrome browser and failed to appear. Without it, I could not purchase the tickets. I switched to Firefox browser and went through the same flow again. In Firefox, the fields were visible, and I was able to enter information and press “pay”. After spinning for two minutes, the transaction timed out with an error. All my miles were gone, as the application apparently never checked for a successful transaction and took miles immediately before the transaction was finished. After spending time on the phone with airline support, I was able to restore my miles. This was turning out to be a very frustrating weekend. Finally, as a last resort, I decided to use a mobile app. Luckily, this time around the purchase went through.

I apparently was not the only one experiencing these issues. Other people I know who wanted to purchase tickets from the same airline had to go through the same ordeal, some eventually succeeding in browsers, some going through mobile apps.

Why did I tell these long stories?

The goal of Quality First Mindset is to eliminate critical issues like these from reaching production, affecting your customers and your bottom line. There wasn't enough logging, monitoring, and analytics available through the critical path of the applications to quickly respond to these incidents.

Quality assurance is a team effort. There should be a quality step in every stage of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). Next time, ask yourself these questions: have we included Continuous Testing as part of our CI/CD pipeline that covers all the critical paths and provides accurate results? Is monitoring, logging, and analytics set up to capture existing and new feature performance and security? Are all the stakeholders alerted to the release and understand what, if any, action is needed for training or triage? Are quick feedback loops in place to capture any issues in production? Are all these issues logged and communicated to ensure they are visible, prioritized, and acted upon?

These are just some of the questions the team should ask themselves. Doing that puts you well on the way to being a Quality First organization.

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