When was the last time you took a vaccine? I had one just before the flu season last year. Access to essential vaccines around the world gets easier by the day.

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Humanity has taken a complete victory of smallpox saving an estimate of 5 million lives annually with an efficient vaccination program. In addition to that, it seems like we might take victory over polio too in the future.

According to an expenses-analysis made in the USA, every dollar invested in vaccination now reduces overall health care expenses by $2-$27.

But have you ever stopped to think that software testing might save as much from the future expenses caused by reclamations, scheduling problems, warranty and critical patches?

When I’m approached and asked to help with testing, it happens often during the final phases of the product development. Downstream on the timeline, some would say.

The development might have been rolling for years, but now three weeks before a yet new major release, we suddenly come up with the idea of actually testing the product. Pretty daring, I say.

Just this morning I came across a paper with a title “The Economic Impacts of Inadequate Infrastructure for Software Testing.” which was prepared for National Institute of Standards & Tech in the U.S. The year was 2002.

According to this research, the cost of discovering and fixing a bug would increases rapidly when compared to finding those problems while designing the requirements.

  • It would cost 90 times more if we found the bug in system testing phase.
  • It would cost 440 times more if we found the bug just before delivering the software to the customer.
  • It would cost 470–880 times more if the customer found that bug.

Of course, this is an old concept and rolling out hotfixes and patching bugs today is easier than ever before. For example, Apple rolled out three iOS updates in three weeks after releasing the iOS11 in September 2017.

On the other hand, we could consider the incredible amount of hassle related to car manufacturers like VW and Audi with their software updates in the CO2 scandal. The multipliers are probably way higher for them.

Though we might never be able to accurately tell how big of an impact each polio vaccination has on the humanity, it seems apparent that it saves more lives than it takes. To me, it is enough.

Though we might never be able to accurately tell how big of an impact early testing has on the software we develop, it seems apparent that is saves more than it takes. To me, it is enough.

Testing is saving. And increasing returns is just a byproduct of it.

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