How to Use Governance to Reduce Software Coding Errors

The cost of fixing computing errors discovered in run time has been estimated to be 20 times higher than the initial software development investment. While malfunctions and glitches have many causes, establishing best practices and policies to follow as the code is being developed can have a significant impact on the quality of the final software product. Here, Knowledge Center contributor John Favazza discusses ways organizations can use governance to improve the quality of their software code.


Are software development errors inevitable or have we lowered our standards on what is acceptable before we freeze the code? The answer is probably a little of both. Given the amount of time and effort that goes into developing patches or deploying service professionals to address more serious issues, you have to ask if some of the issues could have been avoided altogether.

Interestingly, it's been estimated that addressing an issue that's discovered during run time can be upwards of 20 percent more than the original development costs. This is because the longer a policy violation or an error is in the application, code or Web service, the greater the probability is that it will be passed along to colleagues and potentially to customers.

So, when you actually stop to think about the "fix it" costs and the associated brand and customer reputation issues, there's a strong argument for getting the code in its best possible form before the product is considered market-ready and released.

There are, of course, issues such as viruses and hardware failures that affect the performance of the software. However, when it comes to the development efforts, there is room for improvement that won't result in shipping delays or a mutiny among the development team.

This gap will continue to widen as more products and services are introduced and integrated. And, as the infrastructure continues to evolve, there will be a demand for improved transparency due to the higher likelihood of policy violations and coding errors. These shifts will recast governance in a new light as a proactive, strategic element in software development as opposed to an after-the-fact tactic.