QA is the purity of your site. Just like Gale Boetticher could only achieve 96% purity of the meth, your ability to knock out the QA and wrap up your product only makes you a better website cook.

Back Story:

Breaking Bad is a series on AMC that deals with an ex-teacher turned meth chemist. During the series of the show, the lead character, Walter, goes throught the trials and tribulations that are involved in the meth game. During this time, he runs into a competitor, Gale, who tries to mimic the quality of his product. When Gale’s product is not as pure as Walter’s, he says this:

“I can guarantee to you a purity of 96%. I’m proud of that figure. it’s a hard earned figure, 96. However, this other product is 99. Maybe even.. A touch beyond that. That last three percent… it may not sound like a lot. But it is. It’s tremendous. It’s a tremendous… Gulf.”

Real Life:

Websites are not meth and the business is not nearly as lucritive, destructive, etc. But the issue that is occuring in small/medium/large dev shops, small/medium/large businesses, as well as, one dev contract, is that they are settling for or pressured into 90% purity and are unable to deliver to the 99% purity that the market deserves.

The Problem

Projects are on a deadline. Projects have features. Clients want stuff. Devs want and don’t want to develop certain features. Developing those may take longer, may have complications, may be quicker but are often longer. What this means is that QA isn’t delivered in a timely manner, isn’t completely done, is handed to the client too early and/or just isn’t done at all.

What that means is that the site is not complete. Yes, you may have handed it over to the client and yes it may be live. But are you really proud of it, or do you know the secret issues that about 1/100 people may experience, or on a larger scale,  5/100 may experience, or 10/100 may experience it?

You now have an exeperience that is 99%, 95%, and 90%, respectively. That should not be acceptable in the terms of a website. But currently it is, because bills need to paid, projects need to be completed, websites need to be pushed out the door.

The Solution:

The solution to this is not easy, surprise. But it should be no surprise that the solution is not found in one part of the process of discovery, development, and QA, but is found along the whole process. And the process needs to be improved iteratively. Your process is not perfect and can always use improvement.

With this mentality, projects in the future can continue to be looked at and improved to find the weaknesses of where a project may have succumbed to “impurity”. During discovery, it is possible that you missed a clients true wish of functionality, or during design, there were inconsistencies that led to a prolonged dev process, or during dev you missed a piece/detail from the design. Or more likely, during all those processes, those “can be addressed during QA”.

The mentality that something can be addressed during QA needs to die. It creeps the scope. It leaves the projects unfinished. It often creates volatile relationships with the client/devs/PMs/sales/etc. It turns agile into waterfall. QA is not a sprint, it is a part of all sprints. In other words, that mentality will prolong your project and almost guarantees a purity less than 98%.

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