When Quantity Trumps Quality


Being an armchair sports enthusiast is even more satisfying when your team is trouncing the competition. Coming back from 2-0 down to win the latest ODI series against England, South Africa did its diehard cricket fans proud this past weekend.

As I basked in the afterglow of their victory, I got to thinking about the effort that goes into such a resounding success. There has to be an optimal combination of all of the individual personnel and processes and a pursuit of excellence that spans across the entire team and throughout its support structures.

This brings me to the conclusion that, contrary to popular belief, sometimes quality is the result of quantity.

Hear me out before you dismiss my seemingly outdated logic.

I will use the ERP development process to explain myself because, just like cricket, it’s a team activity and it requires skill, commitment and an ability to adapt to the prevailing conditions (and also because my ERP skills far outweigh my cricket talents).

Firstly, I begin by asking this question: How do we achieve quality?

At SYSPRO, our development strategy focuses on several initiatives in order to achieve the desired result.  As I detail some of the most significant initiatives you will see that each process forms part of multiple small efforts in various areas of our business. This implies numerous inputs that are responsible for providing the overall quality output. Quantity outweighing quality. Simple really, isn’t it?

  • Resourcing (Knowledge Base)

 From a testing perspective, we are aware that we need to make sure that our product is tested for possible real world scenarios in the various industries in which SYSPRO operates.

With that in mind, many of our testing resources have worked in the respective industries in which our software functions. The testing phase therefore does not take place in a bubble – equipped with this functional business knowledge, our staff ensure that the product consistently meets customer expectation.

  • Addressing market requirements and business priorities (Knowledge Management)

In a dynamic global market, with changing business priorities and specific regional requirements, SYSPRO developers and testers constantly scan all relevant research sources and attend conferences to stay informed across a variety of industry sectors.

We also take feedback from industry experts to collect essential inputs that highlight what the functional requirements are and focuses our development process.

  • Managing the quality factor through standards (Knowledge Retention)

Several of our developers and testers each have hands-on experience working with the SYSPRO product for more than a decade. This pooled knowledge of the product and of the ERP market makes for a lean and highly efficient team. And, in spite of the embedded know-how, team members undergo frequent and extensive training.

Our strategy is to adhere to coding and testing standards that are formulated and constantly reviewed for relevance. We maintain a balance between observing industry practices and leveraging our own vast experience within the ERP arena to provide consistency.

  • Delivering innovative and robust solutions (Knowledge Dissemination)

There is no short route to optimal quality. The development cycle consists of a repeatable formula that makes use of a constant flow of inputs that result in database structural changes, technology changes, user interface changes and functionality upgrades.

  • Continuous improvement philosophy (Knowledge Endurance)

Unfortunately in the real world things do go wrong. How we manage these challenges is what counts. Through root cause analysis efforts it is possible to formulate preventative strategies that will lead to continuous improvement which in turn contributes to quality.

In the book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. SYSPRO’s longevity has provided these hours (many times over) to secure the products ability to meet customer needs and ensure a positive user experience. Quantity once again taking all the wickets for team Quality!

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