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Abstract

Traditional approaches to Information System (IS) development have concentrated upon a production view of quality associated with a controlled development process and metrics that monitor attributes such as software usability, the number of software errors, and developer productivity. IS quality is also concerned with a use view of quality-how those software artefacts are used within an organisational context, recognising the need for a never-ending learning cycle based on experience of the product in use. Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) is proposed as a framework for considering a relevant notion of IS use quality, enabling discussion to take place about the quality requirements of a technical artefact within the context of an organizational setting. Using the rigour of systemic thinking as a basis, criteria for the assessment of IS quality, labelled the 5Es (efficacy, efficiency, elegance, effectiveness and ethicality), are introduced as a way of identifying the aspects of IS quality that are of concern. A modified form of SSM that incorporates stakeholder analysis and an emphasis on the cultural aspects of quality is proposed for the definition of a relevant (in-context) notion of IS quality.

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