5 Real-Life Consequences of Software Bugs: Why High-Quality Standards Are So Important

Software bugs are among the things that every business would like to avoid at all times. QA professionals, software testers, designers, developers, and coders try as much as they can to ensure that their software applications meet all set requirements without any issues.

5 Real-Life Consequences of Software Bugs: Why High-Quality Standards Are So Important

In a situation where an application is released with bugs, it might end up driving a business into losses or even losing customers. The pride of the software developers is also likely going to be affected.

This explains the reason why high-quality standards are so important when it comes to software applications. Apart from the financial impact brought about by software bugs, there are other consequences that businesses have to deal with.

Some real-life consequences of software bugs include;

Software Can Be Critical to People’s Health and Wellbeing

Technology has made it possible for the healthcare industry to implement the use of care management technology to ease service delivery and access to healthcare.

However, a software bug was discovered with the UK’s NHS (National Health Service) in 2018 that put over 10,000 patients at risk of getting the wrong medication. With such a bug, patients would have received inappropriate medication that would have made their situations worse.

Apart from destroying the NHS public perception, this bug could have led to a health hazard in the UK. It is a clear indication of the fact that people can go through severe consequences due to poor quality standards.

American Airlines Holiday Scheduling Software

Software bugs do not affect the direct users of the software applications only. For instance, there was a bug with the American Airlines Holiday Scheduling Software in 2017.

This bug made it possible for a large number of the airline’s pilots to take time off at the same time. To make matters worse, this happened during the Christmas holidays when most people were flying to their holiday destinations.

It resulted in more than fifteen thousand flights being rescheduled since there were no pilots to fly them. Many customers were affected by this glitch and a good percentage of them moved on to the airline’s competitors.

Apart from the affected customers, the airline suffered financial losses since it had to pay extra for any pilot who was willing to forgo their time off and fly the grounded planes.

Errors With Rocket Launch

In 1996, a satellite’s payload was supposed to be delivered into the Earth’s orbit using a European Ariane 5 rocket. Unfortunately, there was a bug with the software used in launching the rocket. This led to the rocket veering off from its path 37 seconds after it was launched.

The rocket self-destructed when it started disintegrating. This is a security measure with rockets to avoid any casualties on crashing back to earth.

As it was later established, the problem was caused by the reuse of code from Ariane 4, the rocket’s predecessor. Ariane 4’s flight conditions were different from those of Ariane 5. The disaster paved the way for better coding even though it caused a loss of over $370 million.

Flight Crashes

Software bugs have led to multiple flight crashes in the past three decades. For instance, a crash involving a Chinook helicopter happened in Scotland in 1994 resulting in the death of all the onboard passengers.

Even though people blamed the pilot for the crash initially, it was later established that there was a system bug that caused it.

A year earlier, there was a bug in the flight control software of a Swedish Gripen fighter jet. This bug led to a highly publicized crash of the jet in Sweden.

Just recently, Ethiopian investigators released a report indicating that the March 2019 Boeing 737 Max crash was caused by flaws in software design and not the pilots or the airline’s performance.

Provident Financial Software Glitch

Provident Financial suffered a software bug that ensured that the company could not meet its set targets on the collection of debt loans. The company collected about half of their expectations on time.

As a result, the company’s stocks went down by about 74% in one day, while its share price dropped to £4.50 from £17.42. The bug was announced by their CEO, who was left with no other option but to resign.

Such a bug could have been avoided had the company deployed the use of a debugger or a log to find bugs and rectify them on time before they affect their operations.


The quality of your software applications is very important when running a business and should be achieved by using software testing and software quality assurances best practices. As discussed above, software bugs do not only lead to financial losses but also loss of lives, jobs, and missed targets.