Quality is like sex

istock 000015611456smallcThe recent back to back releases of Joomla 2.5.5 and Joomla 2.5.6 and the internal rush to push a CB 1.8.1 quality release out to the general public reminded me of my AT&T Bell Labs days back in the late 1980's.

It was a period that was inspired by quality metrics and improvement discussions. Phrases like "improve quality by a factor of X in Y years" were common in almost every single presentation or discussion.

In fact we were instructed by our supervisor to make sure we mentioned something about quality in all our talks back then.

I was preparing a talk about a new telecommunications service and how our internal newtwork design tool could support it when I realized that I had not said anything at all about the big Q word. So I prepared an extra single slide to start off my presentation and get the Q stuff over with so I could continue with the real (in my mind back then) important content.

 The slide had a title and three bullet lines:

Quality is like sex

  • Everyone is for it
  • We all think it comes naturally and without any special effort
  • If something goes wrong it's always the other person's fault

I recall my supervisor holding his head with both hands when he saw the title but he calmed down when the three bullets were revealed and the audience applauded. I guess lots of people back then were just as confused about quality and how to go about it.

The three bullet statements are just as relevant today. We all appreciate the good end result but seldomly acknowledge it. However, if something goes wrong, then almost everyone finds the time to bitch and moan and complain about the lack of quality and the crappy processeses that are to blame. 

Well, I think it's about time that we all take a moment and consider what we are getting for free with each Community Builder release.

How is it that the CB Team and the Joomlapolis community are conistenly producing high quality releases?

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There are many reasons and many factors that can be sighted. I would like to focus on the following 5 aspects of our quality plan:

  1. Sound design - we always think in generic terms instead of specific.
    All new features or fixes are designed to treat the root cause and not the symptom.

  2. Peer reviews and discussions - each coder reviews other coder's work.
    Nothing is released without a review from a peer coder or designer.

  3. Testing is crucial - our CB Testing Workgroup gets things first.
    There is no substitute for real hands-on testing on different environments.

  4. Security review - no CB release is published without a full security review of changes.
    Beat insists and has been proven right - nothing leaves our CB Labs without a full security review.

  5. We eat what we cook - Joomlapolis always installs final golden before public release.
    We trust in ourselves and in our processes. As a final go / no-go test we install every golden package on Joomlapolis and monitor until we are satisfied.

The effort that goes into each new release is phenomenal.

The fact that people can freely download, install and run CB packages on their websites and we never hear from them (because they do not have a complaint) is a double edge sword.

Sometimes a simple honest review or vote or thank you can make a world of difference.


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