This is the first post in a series that seeks to shed some light on things you might hear in a software project and start to question. I’m calling the series “It’s Not BS If You Can Name The Source” or “INBSIYCNTS”. I’m pronouncing this new acronym “in-science”, as the “b” is silent.
So, for this INBSIYCNTS entry, I’ll put the spotlight on a well known axiom that goes something like this:
It costs significantly more to fix a bug at the end of the project that it does to fix the same bug earlier in the project.
That quote might sound sensical to some and a totally new to those new to software development. It has been skipping about the industry for while. Where did it come from? Have you used it in an debate to support your own argument for better software development procedures?
This fundamental concept is attributed to Robert Grady. His contribution, An Economic Release Decision Model: Insights into Software Project Management, appeared in the Proceedings of the Applications of Software Measurement Conference in 1999. His model predicts costs that clearly demonstrate both how and why bugs caught later in the development cycle tend to cost so much more than it would have cost the team should the issue been caught early on. As such, it behooves all of us to work diligently early in the process to weed out as many bugs as possible, they’re a bargain at that stage and a sucker’s bet if you let them drag on.
Evidently, Robert’s document isn’t freely available online. At least I haven’t been able to find a link to the journal after a fair amound of Googling, but I have found several references online that validate this attribution. Robert has contributed quite a bit to software development, especially during the early years of the web. As this concept is a time honored pillar of software development, you should know who to credit for it.