Software Quality Assurance represented by stethoscope

Why Software Quality Assurance is a lot Like Health Insurance

SQA, or software quality assurance, is a lot like health insurance – it protects us from the risk of loss. Buggy software pales in comparison to a catastrophic injury or disease, but it is an illness none-the-less and one from which you may not easily recover.

Healthy Website: Healthy User Experience

Benjamin Franklin said it best; “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Nothing could be truer when it comes to SQA. The moment of truth for any software developer happens when their project or application is released to the general public. Should any part of their software underperform — if a typo is uncovered, a bug is found, or if some part of the software fails to serve its intended purpose — the target audience will feel cheated.

As the old adage goes, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” Damages to your brand or reputation can take years to repair.  While a simple typo likely won’t destroy your image, a security breach most certainly could. Many of us are intimately aware of an incident that happened a few years ago when a large department store lost their customers’ credit information.  The financial repercussions for a lack of SQA can be enormous. Not to mention the potential of a public relations nightmare.

No Time for Bad Health

Developers must ensure that newly developed products meet certain performance, usability, security, compatibility, and functional requirements.  Software applications must meet these requirements under normal as well as increased load conditions and function across multiple platforms and browsers.

It takes valuable time and resources to develop software applications, and the process often takes place under the pressure of deadlines. Tight deadlines force developers to focus solely on benchmarks while neglecting end-user testing. What’s more, developers are not end users and therefore cannot take an objective view. In such a case, quality assurance provided by a reputable third party SQA firm is just what the doctor ordered.

Imagine a busy business person who sacrifices health by consuming fast food and neglecting exercise. Eventually, he winds up in the hospital after a near-fatal heart attack. Had he focused on his body with a healthy diet and exercise, he would not have to compromise resources like time and money to heal himself or caused such worry in loved ones. On-going software QA, in this example, is this man’s healthy diet and exercise.

Unfortunately, many development companies are reluctant to incur the extra upfront cost of hiring a third-party SQA firm. Software development budgets do not always account for third-party testing. Ironically, outsourcing to an external SQA firm to audit software may be less costly than providing internal software quality assurance due to the intermittent nature of the process and administrative costs.

Final Thoughts

SQA involves a lot of oversight. Developers constantly create new procedures to maintain on-going software quality assurance. In doing, software QA reduces the overall lifecycle cost of software development. For example, software requires fewer modifications if errors are discovered and fixed prior to its implementation. Errors corrected after the software releases are always more costly. Poor customer satisfaction damages your brand and will ultimately drive customers away.

By advocating for healthy products, you can reduce costs and protect your brand from irreparable harm.

Do you need help maintaining a healthy website? Contact iBeta QA to learn how we can help.