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Lately, I’ve seen a lot of discussion about the cost of Software Development. It is troubling to see how many aspects are being missed.

People equate Software Development with “done” or “not done” tasks like digging a foundation for a home…

Digging a foundation, you verify it is in the correct location and the correct dimensions. It is either “done” or “not done.” That is it.

People think Software Development is the same…. The application is built… The client performs some quick tests… and it is done or not done. That is it.

There is so much more… If you want to build quality software applications, keep your customers happy, maintain your sanity… and ultimately stay in business.

First, there is the cost of defining what you want. If you don’t know what you want, you can’t build it.

Second, there is the cost of the initial Software Development. Unfortunately, many “lay people” believe this is the only cost. In most projects, this is a small portion of the total cost.

Third, there is the cost of testing. If you used “inexpensive” Developers, this takes much more time and money.

Fourth, there are the ongoing costs for fixing bugs, support and ongoing maintenance. These can be eighty percent or more of the total cost of the project. This is another place where using “inexpensive” Developers can be very expensive. Simply put, you need to pay someone to fix their mistakes.

Fifth, there is the “intangible” cost… This is missed by 99.9% of businesses. How much business do you lose because of issues with your software?

No one knows the cost of a defective product – don’t tell me you do. You know the cost of replacing it, but not the cost of a dissatisfied customer. – Dr. W. Edwards Deming

It is impossible to put an exact number on this. Most unhappy customers don’t complain. They simply go away. This is a huge problem for many businesses.

For your next Software Development project, you must keep all of these in mind. Your business depends on it.