One of the most expensive and dangerous stories engineers tell themselves is: “we will fix the bug in the next release.”

If they knew the true cost of fixing a bug now compared to post-release, they will be sweating until everything is patched. In fact, a bug’s cost can be as high as human lives.

What’s the real cost of a bug? Let’s start with defining what a bug is: “any unintended result produced by the software.” Now, the “unintended” result can be harmless or cost millions.

When I was 8, I designed an ASCI-based dollar bill using BASIC in a C64. Some piece of code made the bill to go up the screen’s border and reappear at the bottom like it was a money printing machine.

It was an unintended result, but fun to watch. If the result threatens the value the software provides to the user, then it is a malign bug.

The cost of fixing a bug increases as you move forward in the software development cycle. If you are designing a purchase form, and it lacks the credit card verification code field, fixing it at that moment it as easy as drag and drop a new field in the editor. In production, it will cost “all” the sales.

Check NASA’s “Error Cost Escalation Through the Project Life Cycledocument to review studies results and hard data about bug costs.

Hire a QA team. It can save lives.


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Leo Celis