Philip B. Crosby wrote that quality is free. What did he mean by this statement? The money a company spends on quality control is returned in the form of increased sales and a reduction in the cost for doing work over again. In terms of software QA, Philip’s statement refers to the fact that software companies should invest in quality assurance because they will save money by catching and fixing expensive defects found before they get to production or are released to market.
However, companies can also spend too much money on quality. There is no reason for a company that produces a simple mobile texting app to have a QA department with 100 employees. The challenge is finding the marginal rate of return. Companies should search for the “balance point” where the money they spend on QA is giving them the maximum return.
Unfortunately, as the number of defects decrease, many project managers and CTO’s see less bang for their buck so they cut back on quality spending. This is a dangerous trend in the software industry.