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QUEST: How To Build Great Software

While writing the first Lovin’ Legacy podcast of ’23, I coined the acronym QUEST. What does it stand for and how is it useful?

I analysed the 12 Agile Principles, the 5 Ideals of the Unicorn Project as well as John Romero’s 10 Principles for building great software. Having eliminated some of duplicates and removing some principles (namely the ones which relate to timeliness) which I don’t consider to be essential – we ended up with the following list which could be turned into five groups.

These five groups were initially named Quality, Autonomy, Customer, Simplicity & Focus and Collaboration. After some thought, and finding a suitably memorable acronym, these categories were renamed as follows:

  • QUALITY (make it your responsibility – not someone else’s)
  • UNRESTRICTED (Do what you like and like what you do)
  • END-USER (focus on the customer and getting great software to them asap)
  • SIMPLICITY (be focussed, build well, build simply)
  • TEAM (collaboration at the heart of everything you do)

These are the five essentials for making better software.

  1. Ensure that you make quality everyone’s responsibility, and fix problems as soon as they appear.
  2. Ensure that your teams are unrestricted in what they can do, they have the tools they need to work, they have the authority to build what they need.
  3. Ensure that the customer is at the heart of what you do – just as in the word the END-USER is in the centre of everything.
  4. Make it simple to build, and build it simply.
  5. Remember, the team is everything.