In software, this means that every piece of code and UI matters on its own, as it’s being crafted. Quality takes on more of a verb-like nature under this conception: to create quality is to care deeply about each bit of creation as it is added and to strive to improve one’s ability to translate that care into lasting skills and appreciable results.
When I wrote on “quality” a few months ago, I was thinking of it as an attribute one would use to describe the outer loop of a project. Do a bunch of work, locate areas that need more quality, but a few touches on those areas or note improvements for the next iteration, and ship it.
But what Brad is describing is putting quality into the inner loop. Work attains “the quality” as it is created, rather than as a secondary editing or review step. Little is done without considering its quality.
I’m extrapolating a bit from the letter of what Brad has written here, but that’s because I’ve been lucky enough to work with him. Indeed Brad’s work is of consistently high quality. Hopefully he’ll write more specifics about how quality code is created in the future (hint, Brad), and how much it relates to Christopher Alexander’s “quality without a name”.
One thought on “Quality in the inner loop”
One of my favourite quotes from The Lean Startup is “if we do not know who the customer is, we do not know what quality is” (ch6). This is a useful reminder that quality is subjective. You could have a fantastically beautiful UI and wonderfully factored, well-tested code and a product that stinks because it’s not useful. That would be a low quality outcome (because it’s a waste of human talent).
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