The Differences Between Quality Assurance and Quality Control

Wednesday, 11 January, 2017

Whether you are in food, shoes or IT industry, you know that quality is the most important factor that your customers will appreciate. Speaking of the IT sector, since you are familiar with Quality Assurance and Quality Control terms, how much exactly do you know?

They are both important parts of managing quality, but they are not the same thing. In this text, first, we will talk about specifics of Quality Assurance and Quality Control, about differences between them and about reasons why quality management is important.

Quality Assurance  – Failure Prevention System

Quality assurance is the maintenance of a desired level of quality in a service or product. It involves process-oriented activities. It is important to pay attention to every stage of the process of delivery or production. Quality assurance refers to a systematic approach to development to deliver working software, but most importantly to prevent future mistakes. The goal of Quality Assurance is to improve development and testing processes to prevent defects from arising during the product development life cycle.

When starting a business, the most important thing is to avoid all potential problems and mistakes. That is why you need to assure quality in the very beginning. You need someone to introduce you to the best way how to manage your project, someone who knows how the things work and someone who will present you how to develop in the best way. Quality assurance makes software development run more smoothly, minimize the chances of defective products going to market, and in general keep massive system failure from occurring. That is why Quality assurance is necessary.

Everyone in the company can benefit from Quality assurance implementation – engineers, testers, software architects, and managers. It will positively affect their productivity. If understanding what needs to be done is at a high-level, then each task will be delegated to the individual who is best qualified to do it.  Everyone will know more precisely what is expected of them and how their efforts fit into the whole project. They can track their own and each other’s progress, share new ideas and best practices. With precise estimations on any given project’s status, the project team can improve planning and predict completion time.

Quality Control – Failure Detecting System

Quality Control is a procedure or set of procedures intended to ensure that a manufactured product or performed service matches to a defined set of quality criteria or meets the client’s requirements. Quality Control involves product-oriented activities; it focuses on the identification of defects in products. The goal of Quality Control is to identify any defects after a product development, but before its release to production.

If the company wants to implement an effective Quality Control program, it must first decide which specific standards the product or service must meet. Then the extent of Quality Control actions must be determined. Next, real-world data must be collected, and the results reported to management personnel. After this, developers should take corrective measures.

If too many unit failures or instances of poor service occurs, a plan must be devised to improve the production or service process and then that plan must be put into action. Finally, the Quality Control process must be ongoing to ensure that remedial efforts, if required, have produced satisfactory results and to detect recurrences or new instances of trouble immediately.

The Differences Between Quality Assurance and Quality Control

In many places, we can find Quality Assurance and Quality Control reduced to the same. But, that’s not correct. Although they are similar, they are different!

Quality Assurance is a failure prevention system that predicts almost everything about a product’s safety, quality standards and legality that could go wrong, and then takes steps to control and prevent problems. Quality Control is a failure detection system that uses a testing technique to identify errors or flaws in products and tests the end products at specified intervals, to ensure that the products or services meet the defined requirements.

Quality assurance involves process-oriented activities, while Quality Control involves product-oriented activities. When applied together, Quality Assurance and Quality Control can help develop a quality product from start to end. On the Quality assurance side, developing and adhering to processes can contribute to preventing defects. Without more metrics and a deeper Quality assurance program, it’s hard to gauge how much maintenance the product will need in the future. On the Quality Control side, product testing can help identify defects.

Quality assurance activities ensure that the process is defined and appropriate. Methodology and standards development, process documentation, developing checklists and conducting internal audits are examples of Quality Assurance activities. In contrast, Quality Control activities focus on finding defects in specific deliverables. Performing testing and performing inspections are examples of a Quality Control activity.

In combination, Quality Assurance and Quality Control are the perfect matches – they point out defects in current processes and the product itself, which gives valuable feedback. By having good and consistent Quality Assurance and Quality Control, every project will be successful.

What Qualities Does the Management Bring?

When starting a project, you must be sure that it will be completed on time that the costs will be in the budget and ensure that all the team members are focused on the delivery of the completed project. But, there is one more piece of the puzzle that makes every project successful, and it is quality.

When the project is done quality, client’s expectations and reality meets. If a project is delivered, but it fails to meet the specification agreed and does not meet the customer’s expectations, then the project has in fact failed. So, there is a real need to ensure that quality is central to any project. With creating a good project quality plan, all the tasks, and activities that need to be undertaken to ensure the quality that client is asking will be identified. The quality plan needs to clearly identify who is responsible for what in the team and give details of all the procedures and systems that will ensure a quality project.

A good Quality plan will be holistic in its approach, so it will encompass different ways of evaluating and assessing quality as well as ensuring that quality is at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts during the progress of the project.

Although the Quality Plan and Quality Assurance are often talked about as being the same, they are in fact different. The plan will provide the framework for a quality project, but Quality Assurance is the way that the final project will be tested and inspected to demonstrate that all quality expectations have been met actively. In a way, the Quality plan is the foundation for Quality assurance; they are closely interlinked and mutually dependent.

While building Quality Plan and Quality Assurance, all the information needs to be available to all the members of the team. This ensures that everyone is clear about the processes involved in delivering a quality project and that communication is very easy since quality is very much dependent on good communication. All the progress needs to be regularly updated to ensure that everyone is focused on quality at every stage of project delivery.

The benefits of a holistic approach to quality management are enormous. Implementing a quality management system affects every aspect of an organization’s performance. Combining Quality Assurance and Quality Control, all root-cause problems are identified, what gives time to develop strategies to eliminate these problems. Benefits that can be expected are:

By controlling everything from its start, the confidence of all stakeholders in the project will grow, so as a company, you will be seen in a very professional light.

Conclusion

Quality Control checks that the project follows its standards, processes, and procedures, and that the project produces the required products. Software Quality Assurance makes sure that the standards, processes, and procedures are appropriate for the project and are correctly implemented. Simply put, Quality assurance focuses on the process of quality, while Quality Control focuses on the quality of output.

Achieving success in a project requires both Quality Assurance and Quality Control. If we only apply Quality assurance, then we have a set of processes that can be implemented to ensure excellent quality in our delivered solution, but the solution itself is never actually quality-checked. Likewise, if we only focus on Quality Control, then we are just conducting tests without any clear vision for making our tests repeatable, for understanding and eliminating problems in testing, and for generally driving improvement into the means we use to deliver our ICT solutions. In either case, the provide solution is unlikely to meet the customer expectation or satisfy the business needs.

Make sure that you are implementing both Quality Assurance and Quality Control before that create a high-quality plan, so your project will be successful from its beginning to its end.

Ana Lozančić

Ana is a content Marketing specialist and blogger. She graduated in Faculty of humanities and social sciences. She enjoys learning and applying knowledge about marketing and social media, covering latest trends and topics about software development subjects.

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