Ensuring that the product we build meets the high standards expected by customers is an ever lasting goal for every product that has ever been designed and sold. Shipping a product on time with quality is a goal that becomes challenging one way or another. There is pressure from the customers, market place, stakeholders, etc. at all times that clouds decision making at key moments when the product comes close to delivery. For example, the cook who has to rush into the next house (customer awaits) can allocate only one hour for cooking at the current house (customer). Some dishes can take longer to cook. Regardless, short cuts are found – the gas is turned on high, the vegetables are cut in large pieces and eventually, the food is not cooked completely as time perceived by him/ her runs out. Quality of the food becomes a casualty in the face of pressure of timely delivery.
The same principle applies to the contractors entrusted to deliver quality roads. Quality metrics exist but like every honest product manager would admit, metrics are tangibles and do not necessarily mean that the product comes out and functions the way it was meant to at the start! Of course, an easy way to gamify the quality assurance process is to allot points based on customer feedback, give away badges and create a leaderboard so there is a sense of competition amongst the contractors. But this is after the event – after the road has been laid, after the horse has bolted the stable, after the match is played and the deed is done and dusted. It is also, in a sense, a trivial solution to the problem that needs more careful thought prior to implementation.