Project Planning and Management

The Indirect Costs of Quality Problems

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June 14, 2016 Posted in Project Planning and Management

Quality problems in web and software development are sadly far too common. Often in a misguided attempt to hit delivery deadlines Quality Assurance (QA) is not given the attention it deserves, or worse skipped altogether.

We all know the direct costs of poor quality – frustrated customers, bad user experience, potential data loss or security breaches. But what are the indirect costs of not doing QA properly?

Overtime

There’s nothing more frustrating than having to work late into the night or on weekends to carry out testing that your development or QA team should have completed in the first place. With everything else you’re responsible for the last thing you want to be doing is carrying out functional testing. This is a real morale killer.

Credibility

If a poor quality solution sees the light of day, your customers or clients will notice. They’ll definitely tell their friends, colleagues and family, but they may not tell you. The damage this can do to your reputation can be substantial.
Even if it’s an internal application, your reputation as being able to deliver reliably will most certainly suffer.

Pride

Your team wants to be proud of their work. Neglecting QA may save time short-term, but once delivered, poor quality solutions reflect badly on your team, and set them up for negative feedback and painful bug fixes in future. Let’s face it, no developer loves working on buggy systems.

Delays

In addition to unexpected project delays as you get feedback from your users during UAT, if QA is not carried out properly, bugs are more likely to be identified at unexpected times (ie after launch). If this happens your development team will need to stop what they’re doing to fix them. Particularly frustrating for everyone involved – and not an effective or efficient way to deliver solutions.

Security

Security is often an unseen consequence of poor QA. The project has been launched, it functions correctly and your users are happy. But if the appropriate security testing hasn’t been carried out, a data breach or security hack can seemingly come from nowhere. The impact of these types of incidents on your customers and your business cannot be understated.

Technical Debt

The cost of fixing bugs months down the track is substantially more time consuming and expensive than fixing them during the development process. Fixing bugs now, while the code is fresh in the mind of the developer who created them, will be orders of magnitude faster than getting a different developer to familiarise themselves with the code, identify the issue and rectify it. In the meantime, your team will be building on unsteady foundations. Often this leads to a fix in one place causing unexpected problems in another.

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