There are few things as critical to a company’s success as software quality. However, software design flaws, which come in all shapes and sizes, can happen to even the most successful businesses.
Take for instance the considerable embarrassment Apple suffered in 2012 when it fumbled an upgrade to the Apple iOS and released a map app whose maps were all completely wrong. The design flaws didn’t end there. Over the next few years more problems occurred with Apple’s follow-up 8.2, 8.3, and 8.4.
While a company like Apple can recover from software flaws, not every company can or will.
Poor quality software can negatively impact your business in the following ways:
It’s fairly obvious that software quality is going to have a serious effect on your bottom-line. Consider the following figures:
The global economy loses roughly $3 trillion each year due to malfunctions resulting from defective software. In contrast, transnational organized crime causes a loss of only $870 billion from the global economy each year, and cybercrime only costs the globe $445 million a year.
While the menace of criminal elements cannot be downplayed, neither can the effect botched software has on revenue – your customers and your own. If your developers have to spend much of their day documenting systems or analyzing bugs, production comes to a grinding halt. This impact is felt even more as you expand globally and implement applications within a complex, multi-tier environment.
Poor quality can delay your project launch
Having software issues forces you to backtrack and redo work on your product. And, depending on how late in the development process the error(s) emerged, you could also be looking at an added (and very large) expense. Did you happen to catch the error at the very beginning of the design phase or much later on? For your budget’s sake (and your customers’ sake), errors should be spotted in the very first phase when requirements are set. With each following phase, the cost of fixing bugs goes up fast and the product launch date gets pushed back even farther.
Your reputation takes a hit
A good reputation is a powerful business driver. Companies with a reputation for building quality software have no problems making sales. Once they become known for their quality solutions, customers come to expect nothing less. While a great reputation is hard to build, it’s incredibly easy to tear down. Just a few mistakes is all it takes to ruin your reputation, which creates major obstacles to sales.
Employee morale can take a nosedive
Happy employees take pride in their work and really are more productive. Creating the kind of environment where employees can build quality software will drive a much higher level of morale and productivity. Conversely, poor products, which require lots of reworking, difficulty meeting deadlines, and unhappy customers, lead to expensive overhauls and lost sales.
There is a specific sequence of events that every business hopes to establish:
A quality product is manufactured → That quality product satisfies a customer base → That customer base comes back for more and provides positive referrals.
Customer loyalty is heavily driven by the quality of the software you produce and service you provide. And, thanks to the explosion of social media channels, word of mouth spreads quickly.
How to avoid costly software quality issues
If you want to avoid the costs (financial and otherwise) that result from software quality issues, you’ll need to monitor your software development processes from start to finish. Proper methods for quality assurance and software testing are all vital parts of the equation.
Consider investing time and resources into the following:
- Understanding how to measure software quality
- Measuring quality as you develop (not at the end when it’s too late)
- Getting the right tools to do the job
- Working with qualified QAs that are trained to spot issues
While it may take an initial investment up front, doing these things will save you a lot of money (and aggravation) in the end. Taking measures will ensure you don’t have to spend large sums to backtrack and fix a defective software product after development.
Creating a high-quality software product isn’t necessarily cheap or easy. But it is definitely less costly than creating poor-quality software. For successful businesses that develop software, software quality cannot be an exception–it must be the rule.