A defect which could have been removed during the initial stage is removed in a later stage. How does this affect cost?

If a defect is known at the initial stage then it should be removed during that stage/phase itself rather than at some later stage. It's a recorded fact that if a defect is delayed for later phases it proves more costly. The following figure shows how a defect is costly as the phases move forward. A defect if identified and removed during the requirement and design phase is the most cost effective, while a defect removed during maintenance is 20 times costlier than during the requirement and design phases. 
Software Testing Image
For instance, if a defect is identified during requirement and design we only need to change the documentation, but if identified during the maintenance phase we not only need to fix the defect, but also change our test plans, do regression testing, and change all documentation. This is why a defect should be identified/removed in earlier phases and the testing department should be involved right from the requirement phase and not after the execution phase.



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