The Value of Well-Written Code in Custom Software Development

Article

Author: Tangent Solutions

Published: 24 May 2022

At Tangent Solutions, we understand that well-written code is the supportive framework of an effective digital organisation. Ironically, the pressures to deliver stakeholder satisfaction in today’s fast paced world often leads to businesses taking shortcuts in software development.

Concerning Costs Relating to Poor
Custom Software Development Quality

The negative consequences of poorly written code in custom software development results in unreadable and unusable code, making it increasingly complex to add features and manage down the line. In addition, the software often requires auxiliary resources to manage and patch, resulting in escalating costs as well as the potential loss of revenue for businesses. 

Bad Code and the Cost to Business and the Economy 

To give you an idea of the implications of bad code, take a look to one of the most digitised economies in the world, the USA. 1 According to a report by the Consortium of Information and Software Quality (CISQ), the impact of poor software quality on the USA economy in 2020 included:

  • Poor software quality in legacy systems amounting to $520 Billion;
  • As well as operational software failures costing $1.56 Trillion.

It is important to note there are a range of factors that influence these costs. Moreover, these are only two areas of concern we have highlighted, there are further areas and costs noted in the report.

Code must be written with the future in mind, otherwise companies risk creating compounding and unmanageable technical debt. It is imperative that business invest in good code practices, processes and methodologies from the onset. Importantly, companies who have not can still rectify bad code, by taking a strategic and pragmatic approach to corrective action today. Enabling businesses to still compete while developing within the growing digital economy.

Fast, Messy and Unsatisfied 

When faced with any project, including a new build, software developers have a lot to consider. Some of the biggest challenges when approaching tasks is the need to deliver quick wins for business, alongside sustainable code within budget and scope. In all cases businesses take a measured approach and need to ask themselves ‘do we do it right or do we do it fast?’.

Operational Agility in Practice 

Teams should understand that there is always a component of unknown in software development. Operationally the team must consider and account for possible requirements as part of scope development. The amount of planning and scoping completed by a business prior to development will define the percentage of adaptation and un-scoped changes needed throughout the project. Businesses thus have a choice in how they can approach this, either they are willing to plan better from the beginning or they are willing to make spot changes as required during the development sprints, which may have knock-on effects.

 

If the business chooses to take the faster route and complement it with an inflexible approach to change, modern coding methodologies, planning and processes, it will be followed by a mass of kludges and messy spaghetti code. This approach will essentially force businesses to eventually ‘rebuild code, piece by piece over time or eventually ‘throw code away’, to start from scratch.

Software Development and Code's Role
in Stakeholder Experiences

Well-written code accompanied by best practices and progressive methodologies delivers valuable software that enables stakeholder experiences. Good code by default is well documented, easier to work with, requires less management and permits faster feature releases. These code characteristics are aspects of quality software development and becomes a requirement for stakeholder satisfaction across the board in an always-on digital economy.

Proactive Coding for Valuable Stakeholder Experiences 

It may be a matter of urgency to build or fix something today, such as an application that is broken and negatively affects customer service and satisfaction. This is common in software development, but it should not negate the importance of the applications’ future use. 

The Interconnectedness of App Consumer Experience (CX), Company Efficiency, Technology Effectiveness and Profitability 

Badly written code doesn’t only affect the businesses customer’s experience or employee efficiency, it also makes coding and software management tedious and inefficient for the development team. Meaning, longer lead times, more down time, lower productivity and increased manual labour. Moreover, finding and hiring ICT personal is tough in today’s digital landscape.

All these elements are reliant on the other and exist in a cyclical process, that is further affected by external elements. A company needs to work in unison to develop software that can compete in a digital economy and generate value for the business.

Code for the Future 

Well-written code lays the supporting framework for digital evolution of businesses. It’s ability to be reused and scale influences business resilience and competitiveness in the long term, in part shaping the company’s digital sustainability.

This means that your organisation’s code framework can quickly adapt and compete in various scenarios including industry changes, enable hybrid, and remote working, reduce costs, improve processes, and ensure sustainable growth. 

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Tangent Solutions is an ICT solutions and software development company based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Tangent specialises in enterprise software development. Our developers write sustainable and future proof code for multiple applications, including web and mobile.