QX reminders from hospo to a software developer


My favourite Urban Dictionary definition of “QX” is
“In scrabble the most feeble attempt at a word to try to get rid of two letters that will never be used otherwise”, but we like it as an abbreviation for one of our favourite aspects of software development, Quality Experience.  We believe that quality should be an experience that starts from the initial contact with us, all the way to delivery and beyond.  It encompasses and requires integrity, competence and communication, not just the delivery of an elegant piece of software. It should go without saying (we hope!) that the latter is deeply important to us also…

In a delightfully quirky cafe in Mt Maunganui over new year, an otherwise perfectly-adequate-but-not-stellar waiter made a fatal error.  He noticed that the new paper napkin he’d just delivered with my food wasn’t entirely clean and asked if I’d like him to replace it and instantly I had to suppress irritation.  A small thing on its own and probably something most reasonable people would brush off…

However when you put it into words, the concept of giving a customer the option of less than stellar QX sounds ridiculous, and it is.  A big enough thing, or enough of those little things add up to a quality experience a customer might feel inspired to blog about (naming no waiters, you know who you are)…

Having said that, in an enthusiastic attempt to help someone get a start with their project we have in the past occasionally tried to do too much for too little, and the result has been the similar to my underwhelming cafe experience.  In spite of best intentions the customer ended up feeling irritated for a variety of valid reasons, and as developers our integrity felt niggly, we felt out of sorts knowing we could have done a cleaner job, and we got stretched in all directions which never works for anybody.  I can’t speak for the waiter, but he for sure didn’t walk away with the sort of energy that comes with knowing you’ve done a great job and created a raving fan.

We are always excited about helping customers get their projects up and running and we always work with them to ensure no unnecessary spend, often starting with a prototype, but these days we’ve learned to be smarter at finding ways of supporting clients to get things off the ground in a way that delivers better than expected outcomes, feels good along the way, and is win-win for everyone.  

We very much feel that striving for quality in every stage of software development should be a given, never an option.  And so should a clean napkin. Just saying.


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