In three different roles across my career, I was introduced to Deming and the Toyota Lean Quality Methodology. I lived the most recent technology iteration, agile methodologies, when I was lucky enough to work for Robert Holler and Denise Grey at VersionOne. I went on to experience the initial format – true Lean Manufacturing – at Genie – a really cool company and manufacturer of industrial equipment (side note … I’m a card-carrying authorized aerial operator of scissor lifts, z-booms and s-booms). Obviously, when you are manufacturing items to lift people hundreds of feet into the air, quality takes on a different level of importance.
Most days, it has continued to influence my thinking. Having a software product in the quality and monitoring space, I’m constantly held to a higher standard (we meet it frequently in our software and customer support, and miss it far more often than not in the rapid iterations of our website).
Today, I read an awesome article by Ed Powers about how SaaS is today where manufacturing was 60 years ago. It is something I’ve thought constantly – these marketers and software developers must begin to care about the quality and consistency of their tech stacks. It is something our cofounder Andy thinks about constantly.
If you would have asked me 5 years ago – I would have said that quality will rapidly improve in these applications. I would have been dead wrong. Quality and accountability has begun to further and further degrade.
I blame the Citizen Developer movement – where anyone can now build an app or hire and off shore team, and citizen technologists, with no background in managing technology, are the ones purchasing it. It feels like a viscous cycle with more than a few “we own the ecosystem, but didn’t build the integration” finger pointing thrown in for good measure.
Quite frankly, it irks me. There are some folks who seem to be fighting for a better solution, fast and sloppy (by the way – that isn’t the point of agile software development) seems to be the rule. Customers and customer experience are the casualty. It has made for a good career for me (being the one who cares to pick up the pieces).
I look forward to a revolution, like Ed Powers was predicting, where SaaS Technologist see the whole picture and begin to care about the quality in a macro sense, from inception to integration. I’ll push for Automaton to lead in the area. And we will fail sometimes. And incrementally, we’ll get better.
(and please keep sending me the typos you find on our website! We don’t have a automated tool for that yet!)