Quality Management – Cost of Quality!
In this epoch, where the leading industries totally bank upon ‘cost of quality’ for software, it is vital we understand the meaning of ‘cost of quality’. Cost of Quality – a term that’s widely used – and widely misunderstood. The ‘cost of quality’ isn’t the price of creating a quality product or service. It’s the cost of NOT creating a quality product or service. Every time work is redone, the cost of quality increases.
In times today, software is inclined more towards competitive differentiator. As a result, business expectations about the speed and reliability of software releases have changed hysterically.
Let us consider an example, APIs represent componentized pieces of software functionality which developers can either consume or write themselves. In a Parasoft survey about API adoption, over 80% of respondents said that they have stopped using an API because it was ‘too buggy’. Moreover, when the same respondents were asked if they would ever consider using that API again, 97% said ‘No’. With switching costs associated with software like an API at an all-time low, software quality matters more than ever.
Here’s another example – mobile check deposit applications. In the previous years, top-notch banks were eager to provide this as a must-have feature. Later on, mobile check deposit became the leading driver for bank selection. Getting such an application in the market that was secure and reliable was suddenly business critical. With low switching costs associated with online banking, financial institutions unable to innovate were threatened with customer rejection.
This quantum-jump linked with the quality expectations of software is also reflected in the manner in which software failures are reported. Today, software failures are highlighted in news headlines as organizational failings with deep-rooted impacts on C-level executives and stock prices. Most notable software failures were reported in 2012 and 2013 which lead to loss of billions of market capitalization and hence, a tremendous loss of shareholder value.
What we must keep in mind is to re-evaluate the cost of quality for our organizations and individual projects. If your cost of quality assessment exposes a loop in your quality process, it’s a warning to amend your organization’s culture as it relates to building and testing software. Most organization are very clear with their intention of quality software, yet the culture of the organization yields trade-off decisions that significantly increase the risk of exposing faulty software to the market.
Cost of Quality can really bring an organization to its knees. Be Attentive!