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Internal Quality and External Quality: Form Complements Function

In any designed process, it is the quality of the product on which the producer's external reputation is ultimately going to rest. In the context of software quality, it is therefore imperative to focus initially on software product quality.

Software is largely a commercial product, and as such it is subject to market orientation (Kotler, 1997). Market orientation necessitates (nonexclusively) a customer view of product quality. The quality of a software product, at least from a commercial viewpoint, is largely assessed through consideration of a set of attributes, which must be external and customer-oriented. These attributes orient the determination of the quality of a product to the fitness-for-purpose argument presented in the previous section.

However, as we mentioned earlier, this is not the full story. The developers, and also more recently, savvy customers, also demand good form and efficacious means of development. So what attributes do we select to evaluate the quality of a product? Similarly, given the product, how do we measure the efficacy of the process that has yielded such a product?

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