Software Waste and the Cost of Rework

Cost hurts. Everyone can agree with that, but in all my years in IT, I’ve only come across one incident where the cost of software rework was actually calculated. A bank totaled the cost of automated re-testing at $1 million to $1.5 million per month. This number doesn’t even include the cost of manual testing, design time, meetings, coding, or unit testing.

What is the Cost of Rework at your company?

Do you measure it? Do you publish it? Does the cost continually show a decline? You can’t just throw your hands in the air and claim it is human to err. When W. Edward Deming and the Quality Gurus of the 1950s analyzed workplaces they identified the similarities between process maturity and human maturity.

In all areas of IT, we need to address this stage of maturing. We need to develop and publish our processes (good for training and measuring against), we need to govern the application of the processes and measure the outcome (reviews, meetings, audits, testing, perception measurement etc.) and we need to identify and correct defects in our processes. Otherwise, no maturing occurs.

"Progress cannot be generated when we are satisfied with existing situations." -Taiichi Ohno

Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production System, said, “progress cannot be generated when we are satisfied with existing situations.” Are you satisfied with software waste and rework? Let’s break down some forms of waste we encounter daily in the software arena.

Extra features

Extra features may not be what the User wants, not cost-effective, can become obsolete before it is done or not enhance the product


Untrained testers and/or poorly managed testing 

It is difficult to find personnel who have the skills to test well AND quickly understand the company’s software and processes. This means defects can spill over from unit testing to integration testing, to system testing, to user acceptance testing, to implementation test runs.



Defects create many forms of waste and rework, and the father down the SDLC the more costly they become.


Lack of commitment to continuous improvement

 No one wants to point out flaws in a process, but the only way to improve is to be committed to tracking and analyzing productivity.

I am sure the reader can identify a number of other software waste areas but for now, it is enough if we focus on them and do something about them. Please – Go forth and waste no more.

Curious how Celtic Testing Experts could help your organization prevent rework costs? Call us today for a free consultation at 404-913-5997.

This post was originally published October 22, 2014 and has been updated for 2017

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