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The True Cost of Quality Assurance

Written by Amber Lehmann on February 25, 2016

Manual QA Logo no slogan

You have heard it before and so have we, “QA is not cost effective.”  We hear this quite frequently being in the business of software development & testing.  What I’d like to propose here is not the cost of QA, but rather the cost of skipping it.  The effects of avoiding QA can be costly in ways that go far beyond the “bottom line.”

Credibility

The first cost is to your credibility. Your customer may not find the defect you did not test for, but if they do, will they remain a customer?  If you lose your current customers, what is going to happen to future customers? Who will they call, or see on the internet message boards? That’s right, your dissatisfied previous customers.

Usability

Next up is usability. We know the manual says not to do that keystroke, or some other task that seems ridiculous, but guess what? People are going to do just that.  Affecting the usability of an application because of fear of defects that you did not test for diminishes the application’s use. Users do not like dysfunctional applications and will look for more full featured solutions.

Reputation

Who remembers healthcare.gov, and how the launch of that website was considered a failure?  Who doesn’t, actually?  The factors involved in why that website was considered a failure are far too many for one article.  The cost of that failed website destroyed the confidence of the American people that our government could create a website that functioned properly.  In other words, that failed project ruined the government’s reputation.

CBS News claims that Healthcare.gov shrunk its schedule for testing from months to weeks, suggesting that Healthcare.gov was never properly tested.

In Summary

In the end, it doesn’t matter if you have a tight deadline or are working in an Agile environment. Do not skip the QA cycle. If you need a shorter time frame, make sure you have the tools that allow for efficiency and let your people save you money in the long run.

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