No matter the industry, every business deals with the task of allocating resources to the items that have the highest return on investment. Unfortunately, identifying all of the items that have the biggest impact on the bottom line can be a complex task. There is one item, however, that stands out as having a broad impact on many critical elements of every software business: software quality. For successful businesses that develop software, software quality cannot be an exception–it must be the requirement. While customers will obviously prefer quality software products, that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Consider these five ways software quality can impact your business.
Software quality drives predictability. Do it once and do it right, and there will be less re-work, less variation in productivity and better performance overall. Products get delivered on time, and they get built more productively. Poor quality is much more difficult to manage. Predictability decreases as re-work grows, and the likelihood of a late, lower quality product increases.
Some companies have a reputation for building quality software. It becomes who they are, a part of their brand, and ultimately it is the expectation people have of them. Customers seek them out because of it. A good, solid reputation is hard to establish and easy to lose, but when your company has it, it’s a powerful business driver. A few mistakes and that reputation can be gone, creating major obstacles to sales, and consequently, your bottom line.
The most productive and happy employees have pride in their work. Enabling employees to build quality software will drive a much higher level of morale and productivity. On the other hand, poor products, lots of re-work, unhappy customers and difficulty making deadlines have the opposite effect, leading to expensive turnover and a less productive workforce.
A quality product satisfies the customer. A satisfied customer comes back for more and provides positive referrals. Customer loyalty is heavily driven by the quality of the software you produce and service you provide. And, let’s not forget that with the explosion of social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook, positive referrals can spread quickly. Of course that means poor quality and dissatisfaction can also be communicated quickly, if not even quicker than the good ones.
It all drives the bottom line. Predictable and productive performance, a stellar reputation, happy employees, and satisfied customers are the formula for a successful software business.
Few other stand-alone elements of a successful business have as deep an impact as Software Quality.
Have others? I’d love to hear from you!