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Cost of Quality in Software Testing

There is no question that quality has a cost, but lack of quality also has a cost—not only to end users who must live with buggy software but also to the software organization that has built it and must maintain it.

What is the Cost of Quality?

In software engineering, the cost of quality refers to the expenses associated with achieving and maintaining high-quality software.

It includes the costs incurred throughout the software development lifecycle (SDLC) to prevent defects, identify and fix defects during development, and address defects discovered after the software is released.

Cost During Coding Phase

According to industry average data, the cost of finding and correcting defects during the coding phase is $977 per defect.

Thus, the total cost for correcting the 200 “critical” defects during this phase (200 X $977) is approximately $195,400.

The relative costs to find and repair an error or defect increase dramatically as we go from prevention to detection to internal failure to external failure costs. (Software Engineering: A Practitioner’s Approach, Roger S. Pressman & Bruce R. Maxim,
McGraw-Hill, 2020.)

Categories to Measure Cost of Quality

There are four categories to measure the cost of quality in software testing: Prevention costs, Appraisal costs, Internal failure costs, and External failure costs.

Prevention cost: Quality planning, Requirement analysis, Code reviews, Trainings.

Appraisal cost: Assessments, Testing, Audits.

Failure cost: Internal failure, External failure

Prevention Cost

Prevention cost includes the expenses incurred to prevent defects from occurring in the first place. It is the cost and expenses associated with:

  • Requirements analysis and validation.
  • Expenses related to reviews and test planning.
  • Costs associated with training and skill development.
  • Investments in implementing a quality management system.

Appraisal Cost

Appraisal cost includes all the expenses incurred to evaluate and assess the quality of the software during the whole development process.

  • The cost associated with code reviews, and technical reviews.
  • Investments in automated testing tools.
  • The cost of testing and debugging.

Internal Failure Cost

Internal failure costs are the expenses incurred when defects are identified and addressed within the development environment.

  • The cost associated with debugging and defect fixing.
  • Rework and retesting.
  • Delayed timelines and rework impacts.

External Failure Cost

External failure costs are the Expenses associated with defects found after the product has been shipped to the customer.

  • All the costs associated with customer support and helpdesk.
  • Costs associated with patch and update releases.
  • Costs resulting in reputation damage and customer loss.

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Beautifully explained in simple words. Thanks!


Great explanation

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