Cost-efficient software testing. Where to start?

June 21, 2023

Joke Gijsbrechts

The single most common misunderstanding regarding software testing is that it is an avoidable cost. Organizations are often unable to manage testing in an effective yet efficient way. This requires an initial investment. So, the million-dollar question arises: when does an organization need to make this investment and where to start?


What is a reasonable cost for software testing?

It is very hard to advise on one single number to express the cost for software testing. From our experiences, we think that there is one way to decide if costs spent on software testing are reasonable. Compare the cost of software testing in relation to the cost of production incidents. Software testing should always bring financial benefits when developing software applications.


Cost of poor quality

The cost of poor quality can be very complex to define. Defining the cost of fixing production incidents, is something every organization should be able to do for itself, considering their specific situation. In the world we currently live in, creating software first time right becomes more important than ever before. For example, a mobile application being launched for the first time. If it doesn’t function properly, the end user will never use it again.


The relative cost of defects

In the graph below we see how the relative cost to correct a defect is much higher towards the end of the software delivery life cycle. You will end up paying three or even four times more when addressing a software defect during the ‘test stage’. The cost of fixing an incident in a production environment, is several times higher.


Chart, line chart Description automatically generated


Shift left

It seems common sense to focus on the early stages of software development and thus prevent defects as much as possible. In our experience, the only qualitative measure is the number of defects found before testing, being considerably higher than the ones found during the testing stage. For many teams or organizations this requires a different mindset, but it does not require magic. This does not mean it is an easy process. If crafting excellent software were easy, there would be no need for any kind of verification or validation.

To explain shift left in one phrase, the simplest would be to state that testing should not be postponed until the last few days before a release. It should shift to the left on the project timeline. The main goal is to test early and often. So, this does not mean testing towards the end of the development cycle is forbidden. These test stages should still be performed as usual, but because you prevented or found most issues earlier on, they will be smaller and faster to solve.


How to get started with cost-efficient testing?

To be able to make your software testing as cost-efficient as possible, your organization needs a tailored and solid foundation. And besides that, a clear organization-wide software testing strategy. The best way to create this view, is to look at the organization’s processes, methods, people and tools that are part of the software development lifecycle. Then it comes down to a simple, yet clear statement: first move well, then move fast.

We found that the best way to create such a solid foundation, is by taking an outside-in view. You get a broader view on your software development organization and software testing activities. By looking at the organization’s specific needs, available budget and the needed maturity level, it is possible to create a tailored approach based on best practices. At Brightest, we have made it our mission to create innovative solutions to enable organizations realize their quality objectives. Our way of approaching this is by performing an assessment, which we named BrightScan.



A BrightScan is a highly effective assessment, executed by a team of specialists. It provides an objective analysis of an organization’s current software quality and it deduces future evolution initiatives. It allows organizations to improve their test maturity and time to market while reducing their quality costs.


Efficient process

Over a period of two to four weeks, we conduct online surveys and stakeholder interviews. This to create a complete overview on the strengths and weaknesses of the current (test) organization. Depending on the need, we focus on the full process (beyond testing) and more technical matters. After this analysis a roadmap is created that highlights quick wins and defines short and long-term goals and improvements. We aim to link each goal to a measurable value for the organization. In addition, we give them an idea of the Return On Investment (ROI) of each improvement. What is left is the implementation of this roadmap. Organizations can start implementing this roadmap themselves and/or hire our expertise to guide them through their transformation. 

Ready to bring tour software development organization towards a higher level? A BrightScan can be conducted for any type of organization, from start-ups to multinationals. Pricing for a BrightScan depends on the complexity of your organization.

Let’s work together

Interested in how a BrightScan can help your organization?

Contact us