Sifter was designed to be a simpler bug tracker and focused on reaching a less technical audience. As a side effect, however, many of Sifter’s customers lacked a complete picture of the long-term value of increased testing and quality assurance.
While working on Sifter and reading extensively about improving the overall quality of software, I regularly met customers and developed an understanding of where and how they weren’t familiar the benefits of improving software quality.
So I pulled together my notes from years of reading and wrote a high-level overview illustrating how investing more time in software quality earlier in the process could shorten timelines and decrease overall maintenance costs.
The Software Quality Academy provided a lightweight introduction to the underlying concepts, how manual bug and issue tracking fits into the software development lifecycle and how to find the sweet spot for increasing quality without over-investing to the point that something never actually ships.
The vision revolved around communicating the idea that higher-quality software wasn’t inherently more expensive to produce:
You can ship higher quality software without affecting your overall delivery timeline. And, by shipping higher quality software, you’ll lower your maintenance costs, create happier customers, and spend less time putting out fires and more time improving your product. So if quality pays such great dividends, why is the world so full of buggy software?
Ultimately, the goal wasn’t to break ground in the field of software quality but to organize decades of knowledge into a concise and approachable read for people who were looking for a more complete understanding of how investing in quality pays for itself with long-term maintenance costs of software.
The most interesting challenges stemmed from finding the balance between an approachable summary and a fact-based story built on years of industry research and insights. It had to be high-level enough that people could read it in one sitting, but it also had to present the sources and references to both support the case and allow people to dig deeper if the topic resonated. (Figure 3)