Cost of Quality

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Software engineering professionals are familiar with the concept of Cost of Quality, or more specifically, the cost involved with removing defects, essentially the cost of “rework.” The premise of this concept is that the later in the lifecycle a defect is identified, the more expensive it is to resolve the issue.  With the failure of HealthCare.gov, US taxpayers will pay the price for the cost of rework.  Modern tools such as service virtualization enable early testing of incomplete or unavailable components to help mitigate potential risks of production failures.

Uncovering defects earlier in the software lifecycle saves time and money. In today’s environment where businesses and governments run on software, removal of defects related to requirements is essential to eliminating the risk of exponential cost overruns and schedule delays.

The concept of the Cost of Quality is that the later in the lifecycle a defect is identified, the more expensive it is to resolve the issue. With its shift in requirements ownership from the business to developers who will discover requirements through changes to the source code, the Agile movement is effectively pushing requirements definition to later in the lifecycle. Applying models for the cost of rework to Agile projects reveals the hidden costs of the late definition of requirements.

voke's Strategic Brief on the Cost of Rework for Agile and Non-Agile Projects provides economic models for evaluating project results and selecting the most appropriate practices.
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