The Cost of Inadequate Software Testing Infrastructure

I’ve seen a few links to this new report, but they all seem to focus solely on the deliberately provocative headline numbers (“bugs cost the US Economy $60bn per year”). It’s hard to tell whether the actual numbers are real or not (they’re extrapolations of extrapolations!), but there are two quite interesting relative numbers reported:

Firstly: over 50% of these costs are incurred by users. This means that the other 50% comes from increased rework etc before the software gets released. I don’t know what the ratio is between the cost of a bug “in the wild” and the cost of rework from finding the bug, but if they were the same that would mean that 50% of bugs don’t get found until after release.

Secondly: 30% or so of these costs are “low hanging fruit” that could be avoided through implementing relatively simple testing procedures.

It still amazes me that people think that quality costs more. In software, perhaps more than any other area, quality should bring the cost down (unless, of course, you fall for the common fallacy that quality means process).

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