Quality comes in all shapes and sizes .. like Christmas trees. This Christmas I was out selling trees at the local “shopping center ” with my oldest.Most left with a tree that satisfied the acceptance criteria – explicit as well as implicit – yet still no one came with a requirement spec…
Heuristics from the merry christmas tree salesmen:
- The tree looked at first – is usually returned to and bought
- Do A/B split testing between one or two trees
- Too many options makes selecting even more confusing
- One family’s reject – is another family’s perfect fit
- Context is important – like how much room inside, how many people, how many kids
- The closer to deadline – the less options
- No one notices the wicked branches, when the music plays and the tree is lit
- After christmas it doesn’t matter how picky you were with the details
A young woman came to us looking a bit puzzled – she had never bought a tree herself, and the tree been bought was not for her. All she knew was that she had volunteered to do charity help to a down-and-out family. They wanted a tree for christmas – but could not themselves. I can only guess that this specific christmas tree was the family’s perfect tree. The cost didn’t matter to the young woman at all – but the implicit value even more.
Many decisions are never about the monetary (sunk) costs. Hence your customer makes seemingly odd decisions – and that’s OK.
See also: Acceptance criteria are more than what can be measured, Look for Minimum Viable Testing, Without Timing – Quality, Schedule and Cost is nothing, Value of Information for Decisions , 16 points that may rock the boat, When do testing happen? Are you looking too hard