What is quality assurance? What is quality control? These are some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to the software development process. While it is pretty apparent what these two phrases share, they are indeed two different concepts, which clearly tend to confuse many people. In this article, we explain each of these concepts and provide major differences between them.

Quality Assurance and Quality Control Definitions

To understand these concepts, we have to know each of their definitions. So, let us get started on that right away.

What Is Quality Assurance?

Quality assurance, also called QA, is a quality testing endeavor that seeks to prevent any defects on a software product. It ascertains that the strategies, techniques, and processes used in the development are aimed at producing high-quality solutions for users. In line with that, software companies are required to adopt all the specified quality standards in their routine functions.

Perhaps the essential thing to take note of here is that QA has nothing to do with the testing of the final product. Instead, it is entirely process-oriented and ensures that the procedures employed in the development of the product were excellent, thus resulting in the best possible outcome.

Defining the organizational processes and standards is vital when it comes to software QA. As such, there is a need for these specifications to be put down by professionals. The IEEE Standard for Software Quality Assurance Processes stipulations can also come in handy in this regard. This resource spells out how to initiate, plan, control, and execute the QA process effectively.

Examples of QA functions are project auditing, process checklists, process documentation, and process standards.

What Is Quality Control?

Quality control, also called QC, is a product-oriented phase of the software development that seeks to identify defects on the final item. People conduct QC to ensure that the services or products produced are in excellent condition. It entails examining a project to determine if it has been designed as per the requirements and specifications provided by the client. This way, if there is anything that is not compliant with their guidelines for the product, then it can be eliminated before the final version.

In all ways, quality control is about ensuring that the final solution meets what the customer laid out when seeking software development services. It involves testing a specific software after work on it has been completed in a bid to identify defects and address them before it is availed to a client.

Examples of QC endeavors are inspection, deliverable peer reviews, and software testing activities. When it comes to reviews, the types that can be applied in QC include:

  • Management reviews: Implemented by senior management.
  • Technical reviews: Done by trained moderators to determine the consistency in the utilization of technical issues.
  • Walk-through: Here, the author of the final solution guides the review session by sharing ideas on the thought process with team members.

Differences Between Quality Assurance and Quality Control

Now you know what quality assurance is and what quality control is. As such, you know that QC and QA are both essential components when developing digital products and quality management. But most businesses and thought leaders get confused when they hear these two terms. So, here is a comparison table that further distinguishes these two concepts:

Quality Assurance Quality Control
Mostly looks at processes defined by SDLC. It’s a process that assures that the client’s quality requirements will be fulfilled;Mainly focuses on the quality of the product developed. QC guarantees the quality request;
The goal of QA is to improve the development and testing processes so that errors and inconsistencies do not arise as the software is being developed;QC aims at identifying problems and issues in the final product so that they can be dealt with before the application is launched;
It lays down methodologies and standards that should be followed during the product development to comply with the client’s requirements;Check whether the team followed guidelines and satndarts developed by the QA in the process of developing the product;
QA is done by everyone in the team involved in developing the software;QC, on the other hand, is performed by a specialized team of testers that assess the final product to highlight bugs or inconsistencies;
Involves documents review, inspection, review of test cases, among other processes;Quality control involves automation testing and functional testing;
Assesses whether the software developed meets the requirements of the client;Measures the reliability of a developed product;
This process does not usually involve executing the developed software;In all cases, QC must include product execution;
QA is process-oriented and works as a managerial tool;QC is product-oriented and is used as a corrective tool;
QA is applied in the entire development lifecycle.QC is done during the software testing phase in the digital product development lifecycle.

 

You may wonder, if quality assurance lays down processes and measures to prevent issues from arising during the product development, do you need quality control then? Software testing in the development lifecycle involves checking whether both functional and non-functional requirements have been met. QA does not guarantee quality/ standards but creates processes that help fulfill quality requirements instead. Then QC comes into play to make sure these quality regulations have been met. QA and QC are both important when testing functionality (features) and performance (properties) of an application.

Bottom Line

In summary, software companies use both QA and QC to ensure that they deliver quality software to their clients. As quality assurance works towards preventing defects and errors during the software development process, quality control tries to uncover possible issues and defects in the product before it is deployed to the client’s IT system or sold in an app store. Having both components guarantees that a development team builds relevant and successful projects for their clients. The result is that there will be fewer problems and costs for software maintenance in the long-term.

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