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Quality in your work...

Having spent 16 years in the corporate world one has a better understanding of the world and its workings. Fresh out of college, we are more interested in the technical side of things and pay little attention to the why and for-whom side of initiatives. Then gradually one moves to the delivery side of ensuring the activities are delivered on time. Eventually as the time spent with the developer team becomes lesser and the bonding with the Leader increases, so does the clarity about the business side of activities we are performing.

When we say business side, it literally translates to the customer expectations from the product and Quality is intrinsically linked with this expectation. Startups usually target an MVP (Minimum-Viable-Product) to kickstart their operations and as per general practice continuously take customer feedback as a means to review and prioritize the product backlog and accordingly the product roadmap. But how does one arrive at the MVP? It's the bare minimum which would ensure the critical needs of the customer are met while not appearing too much annoying. With so many products competing in the open market, it's imperative to not go wrong in the first release. Planning for Quality comes to the rescue here.

One of the most important roles for a Leader is to continuously communicate the correct product vision and expectation down to the development team and the setting up of correct 'Quality goals' encompasses this activity. Along with the Development team, the Leader needs to structurally break down these Quality goals into tangible objectives and expected outcomes. This exercise instills a sense of purpose in the team - something to aspire for, in the completion of each product feature. The quality objectives for each feature should be published - printed and kept visible in front of the team at all times. As a team member, one should always refer to this quality objective and make 'personal efforts' to better it as long as it does not lead to increasing the scope/time for the activity jeopardizing the overall product timeline. While an individual effort carries on, the Leader should have regular quality reviews to ensure the planned Quality goals are adhered to while also keeping an eye and ear open to provide any support to the team to ensure they do not feel handicapped. Quality is everyone's responsibility on the team and even cohorts should pitch in wherever feasible to ensure each team member's quality objective is achieved.

Driving quality is essential on two counts - the first is definitely to meet or exceed the customer expectations and the second is to build a sense of quality consciousness in our team which is an intrinsic quality built gradually over time - the latter helps groom them into future leaders. Quality consciousness helps to structure the work of a professional and unknowingly it also trickless its way into the personal domain of an individual. This is the positive effect of Quality on our lives and before we realize it, we are driving a quality movement within our families and communities.

The key takeaway is to always aspire for Quality at work.

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