Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) are both necessary for attaining product excellence but might not be as interchangeable as many believe. Even though they share the same word, their approaches differ drastically in terms of goals and methodology. To ensure a top-notch quality output, it’s important to recognize how these two processes differ from each other, so let’s dive into what makes them unique.
Definition of Quality Assurance & Quality Control
Quality Assurance involves an array of techniques and approaches, designed to make sure applications are created with fewer errors before they reach their users. The objective? To prevent potential issues from reaching the end user in the first place! Want to know more about quality assurance fundamentals? Check out our blog on “Software Quality Assurance 101 – The basics” for everything you need to get started on SQA.
In short, Quality assurance is the gatekeeper of software, ensuring that products meet specified standards before they are released. Quality control then follows to inspect and refine those same applications when needed.
This process determines whether or not the software product meets expectations. It includes evaluating against quality standards and verifying that all functional and non-functional requirements are met. Quality control focuses on the final output rather than how it was achieved, guaranteeing higher levels of satisfaction for both customers and developers alike.
Quality control provides significant advantages such as fostering quality awareness and lowering production costs. It helps halt issues early on in the process, greatly reducing the chance of a flawed product or service making its way to customers. Furthermore, Quality Control facilitates cost-efficient defect correction which prevents delays and additional expenses from occurring down the line.
Quality Assurance & Quality Control: The differences?
Objectives: Prevention vs. Detection
Quality assurance is a system of proactive strategies that evaluates potential issues before they occur, while quality control seeks to identify and rectify mistakes after development. Quality Assurance focuses on providing the right environment for creating high-quality products via criteria established by developers or clients early in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), whereas specialists in Quality Control verify product compliance with these standards through an extensive series of tests post-development.
Both processes are vital parts of software production: one avoids problems from appearing; the other ensures any existing imperfections can be identified swiftly and corrected quickly.
Focus: Process vs. Product
Quality assurance requires careful planning and implementation from the very beginning and started earlier on. It includes documenting procedures as well as establishing guidelines to empower quality across all stages of production. QA results with an effective development process, the development’s test plans, and tracking tools are well set up. Quality control meanwhile focuses on inspecting final products so that they meet established standards before being released for use.
Breadth: Full SDLC vs. Testing Phase
Quality assurance acts as a preventative and proactive method to assure product quality, while Quality control is a reactive and corrective approach. Typically, Quality control is confined to the Review/Testing stage in the SDLC, whereas quality assurance can be continuous and conducted concurrently with development in CI/CD.
Involvement: Whole Team vs. Testing Team
The distribution of responsibilities is a significant distinction between quality assurance and quality control. Typically, all members of the development team share the responsibility of quality assurance. In contrast, a testing team, whose primary function is to identify defects, is usually responsible for executing quality control. As it helps refine the final deliverable, quality control is a crucial component of any product development.
Activities: Creation vs. Verification
The quality assurance process involves setting standards for each step of production, ranging from design, manufacturing, assembly, packaging, storage, and distribution, to marketing and sales. The primary objective is to ensure that high-quality products are produced consistently.
On the other hand, quality control includes activities that are used to measure and verify the finished product before it is distributed.
Despite there being significant differences, Quality Assurance and Quality Control don’t vie for the best process to guarantee product quality. Rather, they complement each other by addressing different facets of software development. Quality Assurance and Quality Control work best in combination.
When the product development process lacks either quality assurance or quality control, you can face many challenges. A software testing service will help you solve those problems at the most optimal cost.