The risks of neglecting quality assurance activities
“Excellence is not an act, it’s a habit” said Will Durant, American writer and philosopher, when interpreting famous words by Aristotle “Virtues are formed in man by his doing the actions”.
Today, we look into Quality Assurance – the modern interpretation of those sentences. Let’s check why it is so important and what are the risks of neglecting it.
A few facts about Quality Assurance (QA)
In today’s highly competitive world, the success of every business depends on the quality of the products or services it offers. The research proves that high-performing product teams (meaning those that work with QA early on) spend 22% less time fixing issues, which in turn gives them more time for research and add-value work.
Some time ago the importance of Quality Assurance has been underlined by The World Quality Report which recommended that companies should keep the QA budget to 25% of development costs, saying such an amount was crucial for maintaining quality, security and better customer experience.
So, what exactly is Quality Assurance?
One of the best definitions of quality was given by Henry Ford who once said: “Quality means doing it right, when on one is looking”. But doing it right is never as simple as it sounds and requires standards, processes, and ways of making sure things are always going according to the plan.
This is exactly what Quality Assurance is all about – ensuring the products or services offered by a company are always of the highest standards and that those standards can be met consistently. Such an approach allows to prevent problems before they happen, or to spot them as soon as they arise.
Why is Quality Assurance so important?
There are several reasons of why Quality Assurance is so important in every kind of business. It saves time and money, improves customers’ confidence in the offer, makes the user experience better and promotes efficiency and productivity. In short, it allows businesses to make products that meet clients’ needs, requirements, and expectations.
What are the risks of neglecting Quality Assurance activities?
The list of QA benefits is long and doesn’t leave any doubts of why QA processes are so important. Today, let’s look at another list – the one that highlights risks related to neglecting Quality Assurance activities. Here it is:
Increased costs and more time spent on developing products
When working on developing software, Quality Assurance allows you to spot problems early on. Without it, developers often need to fix issues and introduce changes at a later stage, which significantly increases costs and may mean exceeding deadlines. It is estimated that finding and fixing a software problem after delivery of a product is often 100 times more expensive than doing it during the requirements and design phase.
Increased risk of security breaches
If you don’t have QA processes in place, meaning you don’t test your products as a part of their development process, you face a huge risk of cybersecurity breaches, which in turn may lead to huge reputational damage and potential loss of money if a cyberattack ever occurs.
Unstable performance and undetected errors
In March 2016, Amazon experienced a service disruption: for 20 minutes users could only see the message: “We’re sorry! An error occurred when we tried to process your request”. This was enough for Amazon to lose $3.75 million! This is a great example of what an unstable performance may mean. Quality Assurance allows to test products and services throughout the development process, which minimises the occurrence of such incidents.
Decreased customer satisfaction
IT products and services should be created with the end-user in mind. Statistics show that clients are merciless: they stop using the website if it doesn’t load properly, they change a supplier after just one bad experience. Without Quality Assurance activities printed into your projects, you cannot meet the customers’ satisfactions levels, as you don’t test your products and don’t gather relevant feedback about them.
Reputational damage and lack of consistent results
If you company does not provide clients with consistently good products or services, its reputation will suffer, which in turn will impact your financial results.
Team that is less efficient and less productive
Bugs and errors are always a problem, but if they are found on time, they can be dealt with immediately. Left unnoticed, fixing them takes longer and requires more people. This may mean delays and communication problems, which always prevent companies from working smoothly.
Times when Quality Assurance was just a catchy phrase are long gone. Today, it’s one of the most important parts of every software development process – an indispensable one if your company wants to grow and attract new customers.
If you don’t take it seriously, it can cost you dearly. Why risk it?