Start-up failures due to Quality Failures

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Saadullah Aleem 1,* Santosh 1 Waqas Mahmood 1

1. Institute of Business Administration, Karachi, 75270, Pakistan

* Corresponding author.


Received: 19 Jan. 2021 / Revised: 18 Feb. 2021 / Accepted: 12 Mar. 2021 / Published: 8 Apr. 2021

Index Terms

Software Quality Assurance, Start-ups, Software Engineering, SQA practices


Software start-ups are fundamentally different from traditional software development firms and boutique software services enterprises of all sizes. They develop software products with strict time and resource constraints and are focused on beating competitors to the market. They fail fast and often pivot their business models several times in their lifetimes. Their approach to designing, developing, testing, and shipping software products differs vastly from the established software engineering principles that emerged during the field’s earlier decades. One such principle is Software Quality Assurance. Start-ups tend to do away with procedures that ensure that their products are of the utmost quality. Instead, they focus on shipping their products to market as fast as possible, testing these products vis-a-vis real-life customers and use-cases, and eventually improving these products, repeating the process several times over. We hypothesize that this reluctance to adhere to software quality assurance principles can have adverse effects on the health of start-ups or their products. This paper investigates this hypothesis through over 20 questions presented to CEOs, CTOs, Technical Leads, and Product Managers of several start-ups. These questions focus on start-ups’ motivations, their levels of understanding and appreciation of software quality assurance principles, and the limitations they face due to time and resource constraints. Our research’s results indicate the surveyed start-ups’ problems are partially due to the absence of robust software quality assurance practices within their processes.

Cite This Paper

Saadullah Aleem, Santosh, Waqas Mahmood, " Start-up failures due to Quality Failures ", International Journal of Engineering and Manufacturing (IJEM), Vol.11, No.2, pp. 1-13, 2021. DOI: 10.5815/ijem.2021.02.01


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