Quality and cost are the two parameters which play a crucial role in the process of software development. The term quality cost refers to the cost incurred in the process of maintenance of a software application. So quality costs are the expenses to be incurred in the process of prevention, discovery and correcting a defective piece of work.
Cost is an essential component for an organisation that takes an important role in all the decision making activities. Cost factor is also imperative in determining allocation of resources.
Cost can be of various types. Few quality related costs are :
Prevention Cost: Such costs are used in activities involved in defect prevention or avoidance. These prevention measures are generally related to the design, implementation and maintenance of the entire quality management system. Prevention of poor quality includes dealing with coding and design errors, mistakes in user manuals, badly documented or complex code. Example fault tolerant design, usability analysis, staff training, early prototyping, clear specification, requirement analysis etc.
Appraisal Costs: The costs related to measurement and monitoring activities related to quality are appraisal costs. The activities include code inspection and testing any form. Design reviews are partially prevention and partially appraisal activities. Examples – training testers, beta testing, test automation, usability testing, design review, code inspection etc.
Failure Cost: These costs are the result of dealing with poor quality of a product, that is, fixing bugs and addressing customer issues. Examples warranty costs, lost sales, penalties, refunds, lost customer goodwill etc.
Internal Failure Costs: The cost incurred in the event of failure of performing any activity due to some bug, then it is an internal failure within the company. The cost of wasted time, missed milestones or any overtime to get back to any schedule. Example wasted writer time, cost of late shipment, regression testing, bug fixes etc.
The sole objective of conducting quality cost analysis is to ensure that the product to be delivered is a reliable one and it has a long-term impact on the minds of the end users. These costs must provide a realistic analysis or measurement of the quality effort. Such an analysis is effective in proving the efficiency of the quality management process.