We often have conversations among ourselves and with our clients about what software quality means (could mean /should mean).

And I always find these discussions interesting because software quality seems to have very different connotations for different people. Depending on personal preference, on the role you fulfill in an organization or the different domain you work in and so forth. Sharing ideas on quality with a group of stake holders often brings interesting differences of opinion to light.

Of course, a lot has been written on software quality and how to best achieve it and we have our own ideas as well, but still there is a lot of room for discussion.

Because it is Friday and I have a good cigar waiting for me. I thought it would be interesting to take a small excursion away from software quality to the world of cigars to see how they use the word quality.

Disclaimer: I only occasionally smoke a cigar.

If you go to the wikipedia article on cigars http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cigar there currently are 16 mentions of the word quality.

The first mention is of a 16th century find of high quality soil in the Philippines for growing tobacco. Root cause any one?

The second mention makes a differentation between machine made cigars and high quality ones made by hand, attributing quality to they way it is produced.

Then the article states how different leaves are selected based on quality. Again quality contributed to the inherent qualities of a cigar and the leaves the cigar is made of.

Fourth is again a reference to the artisanal, hand made background, of quality cigars.

5 and 6 are quality characteristics:

“Some cigars, especially premium brands, use different varieties of tobacco for the filler and the wrapper. Long filler cigars are a far higher quality of cigar, using long leaves throughout. These high-quality cigars almost always blend varieties of tobacco. Even Cuban long-filler cigars will combine tobaccos from different parts of the island to incorporate several different flavors.”

7 mentions quality without referencing to cigars.

Churchill

8,9 and 10 again describe characteristics:

“Fillers can be either long or short; long filler uses whole leaves and is of a better quality, while short filler, also called “mixed”, uses chopped leaves, stems, and other bits. Recently some manufacturers have created what they term “medium filler” cigars. They use larger pieces of leaf than short filler without stems, and are of better quality than short filler cigars. Short filler cigars are easy to identify when smoked since they often burn hotter and tend to release bits of leaf into the smoker’s mouth. Long filled cigars of high quality should burn evenly and consistently.”

11: “Irregularly shaped cigars are known as figurados and are sometimes considered of higher quality because they are more difficult to make.”

12 states: “Most quality handmade cigars, regardless of shape, will have a cap which is one or more small pieces of a wrapper pasted on to one end of the cigar with either a natural tobacco paste or with a mixture of flour and water

13: Each brand and type of cigar tastes different. While the wrapper does not entirely determine the flavor of the cigar, darker wrappers tend to produce a sweetness, while lighter wrappers usually have a “drier” taste. Whether a cigar is mild, medium, or full bodied does not correlate with quality.

14: Many different things affect the scent of cigar smoke: tobacco type, quality of the cigar, added flavors, age and humidity, production method (handmade vs. machine-made) and more.

The last 2 discuss quality of acessories and quality control of cuban farms and are not applicable here.

So what did we learn?

According to a quick review of a wikipedia article a cigar is of quality by:

– The process by which the cigar is made (hand made or machine made)
– The inherent quality of the contents of the cigars (its leaves for instance)
– The experience of the user

hmmmm time to smoke mine and find out for myself.

Good weekend everyone!

jan