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The Economics of Software Quality Assurance

21 January, 2014 | Post by SQA²

The SQA2 Blog: General

Philip B. Crosby wrote that quality is free. What did he mean by this statement? And what are the economics of software quality assurance? The money a company spends on quality control is returned through increased sales and a reduction in the cost for doing work over again. In terms of software QA, Philip’s statement refers to the fact that software companies should invest in quality assurance. This is because they will save money by catching and fixing expensive defects before they get to production. Or even worse, before releasing the software (app, website, etc.) to market.

However, companies can also spend too much money on quality. A company that produces a simple mobile texting app has no reason for having a QA department with 100 employees. However, company that has a robust piece of software at the core of their business should have a robust QA department. The challenge is finding the marginal rate of return. Companies should search for the “balance point” where the money they spend on QA is giving them the maximum return.

Unfortunately, as the number of defects decrease, many project managers and CTOs see less bang for their buck so they cut back on quality spending. This is a dangerous trend in the software industry.

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