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Designing Delivery by Jeff Sussna

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Chapter 6. A New Definition of Quality

In order to navigate the challenges of the post-industrial economy, twenty-first-century businesses need a new, cybernetic approach to control. The new business imperative in turn demands a transformation on IT’s part from an efficiency aid to a medium for empathic digital conversations. To accomplish this transformation, IT must radically redefine its understanding of quality.

IT’s new role involves doing more than just enabling a company’s ability to conduct conversations with its customers. These conversations must be useful. They must lead to brand enhancement rather than degradation. They must help the organization dynamically maintain its viability. Merely unifying design and operations isn’t sufficient; continuous design only succeeds when it helps the organization steer in desired directions.

In order to be effective and not just fast, the digital conversational medium must incorporate a mechanism for validating the usefulness of conversations and their impact on brand quality. Cybernetics supports self-validating processes by building detection of error into its basic model of control. Defining design as “changing existing situations into preferred ones” implies a mechanism for determining whether changes are in fact preferred.

Within engineering organizations in general and software development in particular, Quality Assurance (QA) traditionally plays the role of detecting error and validating desirability. Before one can address ...

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