Jeri // August 28 2017
Is it culture and co-creation which create real quality in a rapidly changing world?
Quality sounds like some old and dusty stuff that’s so last season. Nowadays, digital services are being built and deployed in an ultimate agile development environment and the user is kept at the center, not having to think about the old quality processes. Now is also the time to get the upcoming new features in a bundle in order to get them online for the service users. One of our customers said at a kick-off meeting that we should focus on the new features and value now, while the fine tuning and detailed testing will be done later if there is the time and the need for them. Yes, we are doing just fine and receive great results without spending too much time on detailed planning and testing, but how can that work?
But what happened to quality assurance, has that been forgotten altogether? No it’s not forgotten but we are doing many things differently with the QA still present. It is part of the culture and everyday work, not some kind of retrofitting rim polish to be done at the end of project. Quality does not always matter so much, doing well enough but often these digital systems should flow like water in a river and provide users with digital services with such experience that blood pressure does not rise too much. It could rise a bit but rather from excitement than exasperation. Often, the issue is also about security, things have to work and happen as planned, even when development cycles accelerate and businesses require us to deliver more and faster. But yes, we are doing quality assurance as well but it’s not only on QA-teams’ responsibility, culture is affecting everything during whole teams’ journey towards the vision.
The “quality” is slightly different depending on the point of view. Let’s think about what we get in certain roles when creating “high quality” services.
1. End users. A great, beneficial and inspirational experience, a well-functioning service or product that works without focusing on technology or relying on tricks
2. Service provider. A functioning and high quality digital service for customers that boosts business more than we ever could have dreamed of. When agreed, and when costs are planned together, joyful surprises and close co-creation with end users and partners will happen. A feeling that the digital partner is a genuine partner who takes real responsibility for the concerns and future development of the service, to ensure that the common journey will continue.
3. Digital service partners. Together, the vision built with the stakeholders and end users is refined in the hands of the team through discovery, design and development. Delivering the project without the need for too many adjustments, the budget of the project does not cost you re-factoring, continuous unplanned changes and repairs. Long-term continuous collaboration and happy customers are the result.”
4. Ecosystem and network. An inspiring and encouraging story which makes you want to be part of these stories, the best lessons learnt will be shared with others in the network.
Sounds like taking a nap? Sometimes it is and sometimes not.
Making and delivering quality is ultimately, first and foremost, working together, openness, attitude, culture and working practices right from the start. We call this co-creation. On the whole, there is discovery and observation from the human point of view and planning, which also takes into account the realization of things. This ensures at the outset that the vision creates a goal and a plan that is commonly and easily understood by everyone as a common goal.
Making a digital service may seem like a lot of strange mystique that requires almost magic. Making the same goal together with a clear vision in mind works in all areas whether it is building houses, ships, organizing events or building a digital service. When a vision is beneficial, clear and easy to understand for whole team, they will know how to make it come true. First, the discovery and design results morph into plans and visions, the architect works together with team to design the plan as a technical solution, and then the team builds the service together. Throughout the entire service creation, culture is once again a key factor.
Let’s sum up how culture and co-creation are making quality
- Co-create a clear vision of what you want to achieve together. This has to be crystal clear and attractive for all roles and members that they all want to make it really happen
- Doing it all together and openly ensures that you’re getting real collaboration and diversity by all team members
- Trust the team and help them in clearing the barriers to the vision
- Share experiences and benefits with the whole team, they will do it again and better when the next opportunity arrives
As a conclusion, quality is almost a unique topic for different people. Traditionally it is understood as a phase where we are checking that everything works as planned. Nowadays this phase is still present and spread over the whole service development but we believe that a co-created crystal clear vision starts creating quality right from the start of the business development.