Quality assurance (QA) is a way of preventing mistakes and defects in manufactured products and avoiding problems when delivering products or services to customers; which ISO 9000 defines as “part of quality management focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be met”. This defect prevention in quality assurance differs subtly from defect exposure and refusal in quality control and has been referred to as a shift left since it focuses on quality earlier in the process.
Before we learn Quality Assurance, let’s know
What is Quality?
Quality is remarkably hard to define, and it is clearly stated: “Fit for use or purpose.” It is all about meeting the needs and expectations of customers concerning functionality, design, reliability, durability, & price of the product.
What is Assurance?
Assurance is nothing but a piece of positive information on a product or service, which gives reliance. It is the fact of a product or a service, which will work great. It provides a guarantee that the product will work without any problems as per the expectations or obligations.
What is Quality Assurance?
Quality Assurance (QA) is defined as an activity to ensure that an organization is providing the best possible product or service to customers. QA concentrates on enhancing the methods to deliver Quality Products to the customer. An organization has to assure, that processes are efficient and effective as per the quality standards defined for software products. Quality Assurance is popularly known as QA Testing.
Quality assurance has a defined cycle called PDCA cycle or Deming cycle. The stages of this cycle are:
These above steps are replicated to ensure that processes followed in the organization are evaluated and improved periodically. Let’s look into the above steps in detail –
- Plan – Organizations should plan and establish the process related objectives and determine the processes that are required to deliver a high-Quality end product.
- Do – Development and testing of Processes and also “do” changes in the processes
- Check – Monitoring of processes, modify the processes, and check whether it meets the predetermined objectives
- Act – Implement actions that are necessary to achieve improvements in the processes
An organization must use Quality Assurance to ensure that the product is designed and implemented with correct procedures. This helps reduce problems and errors, in the final product.
There are 5 primary Quality Assurance Functions:
- Technology transfer: This function concerns getting a product design document as well as trial and error data and its evaluation. The documents are distributed, checked and approved
- Validation: Here validation master plan for the entire system is prepared. Approval of test criteria for validating product and process is set. Resource planning for the execution of a validation plan is done.
- Documentation: This function controls the distribution and archiving of documents. Any change in a document is made by adopting the proper change control procedure. Approval of all types of documents.
- Assuring Quality of products
- Quality improvement plans
Best practices for Quality Assurance:
- Create a Robust Testing Environment
- Select release guidelines carefully
- Apply automated testing to high-risk areas to save money. It helps to fasten the entire process.
- Allocate Time Appropriately for each process
- It is important to prioritize defects fixes based on software practice
- Form dedicated security and performance testing team
- Simulate customer accounts similar to a production environment
There are 10 essential elements of SQA which are enlisted below for your reference:
- Software engineering Standards
- Technical reviews and audits
- Software Testing for quality control
- Error collection and analysis
- Change management
- Educational programs
- Merchant management
- Security management
- Risk management
Quality Assurance Certifications
There are several certifications available in the industry to ensure that Organizations follow Standards Quality Processes. Customers make this as qualifying standards while selecting a software vendor.
This standard was first established in 1987, and it is related to Quality Management Systems. This helps the organization ensure quality to its customers and other stakeholders. An organization who wishes to be certified as ISO 9000 is reviewed based on their functions, products, services and their processes. The main aspiration is to review and verify whether the organization is following the process as expected and check whether existing processes need reform.
This certification helps –
- Increase the profit of the organization
- Improves Domestic and International trade
- Reduces waste and increase the productivity of the employees
- Provide Excellent customer satisfaction
Quality Assurance is to investigate whether the product developed is fit for use. For that, the Organization should have processes and criteria to be followed which need to be improved systematically. It centers mainly on the quality of the product/service that we are providing to the customers during or after the implementation of the software.