Rigor & Quality & Nuance

Quality is assessed of the end result, where rigor is measured of the work. Yet we lack cultural context. To balance these themes the result must allow for nuance. We can operate within the tensions of rigor, quality, and nuance to celebrate strengths from our process and virtue from our creativity.

Rigor & Quality & Nuance
Rigor & Quality & Nuance by JLP

We expect an elevated level of excellence when we assess quality, a finished product that stands out from the crowd. To achieve this mark we have to establish high standards and an approach to thoroughness, a regiment of rigor to oversee our practices. We know shoddy, slapstick work rarely, if ever, randomly creates the quality we aspire to. A rigorous undertaking conveys precision and accuracy. It establishes a repeatable approach, yet with little room for improvisation. It carries the connotation of learned craft — honed to a master's skill — and downplays the importance of artistic exploration. Quality is assessed of the end result, where rigor is measured of the work. Here we find a paradox in three parts:

  1. we cannot have quality without rigor;
  2. a project may have rigor and fail to achieve quality;
  3. establishing rigor may hamper the solutions ability to adapt and respond to the market

To balance these competing themes the result must allow for reflection and a path to nuance, it acknowledges and supports the cultural context of the solution. Our rigorous process can incorporate real-world feedback, empower iterative changes from the lessons we learn, and set thresholds for quality measurement. It is a waste of time and energy to produce high quality products that no one wants to use. With our open-minded recognition, we can operate within the subtle tensions of rigor, quality, and nuance to celebrate strengths from our process and virtue from our creativity.