I’ve been talking about creating bug free software in my last two posts. In this article I want to think about why we might want to do this.
Bug free software (as I have narrowly defined it in these posts), is valuable. If you can really deliver software that solves a customer problem in a way that they agree does not create any bugs, you have something that is incredibly valuable to them. However, it will most likely also be expensive. Figuring out what exactly the customer needs and working with them to deliver exactly that, is cost and time intensive. We all know that good testing takes time.
I think there is a place for dollar stores and other providers of low cost goods. There is also a place for low cost providers of software solutions. If all you need is a quick and dirty solution that doesn’t last long, a piece of software with a lot of issues that ‘bug’ you might be just fine. But if you are dealing with a long term and important problem that can be solved with software, do you really want a dollar store solution for it? Is it worth it to go back to the dollar store every two day to replace that broken item? Or is it perhaps worth getting a higher quality item that will last and do exactly what you need it to?
I think this metaphor can be applied to software. If your software solves a problem well, and does so in a way that doesn’t feel like a dollar store toy that breaks 2 minutes after your kid starts playing with it, you have something that is valuable.
When you have something that is valuable you can get people to give you money for it, and then you have a successful business. So caring about quality, and the effort that goes into it is a great way to create value for the business. Taking time to invest in good automation and learn good coding practices; taking the time to reach out to customers and understand usage patterns; taking the time to keep the code base understandable; taking the time to find and fix things that prevent customers from efficiently solving their problems; all of these things contribute to having valuable software.
I very often see companies getting caught up in the need to release new features and make more exciting stuff that they can market and sell. Those things matter and are ways to add value and make money, but we need to remember that working on the quality of our existing solutions is also a way to add value. The better we solve the customer’s problems that more valuable our software will be. And I think it is a pretty simple inference to say that the more valuable our software is, the more potential there is to make money.
So why create ‘bug free’ software? Well in a nutshell, because it is valuable.
Let me close with one parting thought: How valuable would it be to the company to have someone (say a tester) that can demonstrably help them get closer to that bug free state?
Photo by Niels Steeman on Unsplash