For those of us who have made quality our passion and career, the question seems silly. Of course we need quality assurance (QA). I’m still amazed, though, at organizations that undertake large software development projects who either see quality assurance as a nuisance or an afterthought – something you tack on at the end. Investing in quality assurance for most people is like buying those water filters that you put on your faucet or that fit inside the pitcher you keep in the refrigerator. In the end, you just get clean water, something you expected to get anyway.
The water doesn’t look different. In fact, at face value you wouldn’t see the difference with or without the filter.
So, if the water doesn’t look any different with the filter, why do we use them? We do it because we know there are impurities that we don’t want in our drinking water, even if we can’t see them right away. The same is true for QA.
A product that hasn’t been tested may look ok at first glance, but once you start to scrutinize it, you find the issue that should have been filtered out. There are various estimates on the cost of waiting to check for defects and other issues, but the Wikipedia page for “Software Testing” has a fairly conservative listing of the cost for finding bugs and other problems late in the process. The basic idea is that the longer you wait to address the types of issues that quality assurance testing is meant to correct, the more expensive it is to address them.
In short, prevent the problem from happening and there’s no cost. Find it sooner in the process and it’s an easier, less expensive fix. Find it late in the process and there’s a high price to pay in terms of re-working code you had considered finished, and then having to not only test the fix, but also test around it to ensure there is no collateral damage from the late code changes.
If the issue affects data, you may also have to invest in a DBA’s time to fix corrupted data (and of course, quality test that it works as well). This is not only expensive, but it consumes time, and could potentially mean delays in project delivery.
I believe the old saying goes: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In this case, spending X on prevention can save you 10–100 X for a cure.
Here at Seamgen we take pride in our QA process because real life environments and scenarios are simulated to produce accurate results. If we aren’t satisfied with the results, we implement the necessary adjustments and retest for accuracy. Do you have questions about quality assurance? Please contact us today, we’re happy to help!