While you choose any product/service for a specific purpose, you certainly consider its features. You verify whether it fulfills your purpose. In addition, you want it to be free from all kinds of errors and bugs. If the product/service you choose meets these two criteria, you are more likely to buy it.
A product/service is of high quality if it meets the intended purpose or customer requirements and is free from defects or bugs. Quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) in software testing play a vital role in validating the quality of products/services.
Though these terms are related, they are two distinct processes in software testing. Before we move on to learn about Quality Assurance vs Quality Control, let us first understand the terms – quality, assurance, and control – in software engineering.
Quality: The quality of a software product refers to ensuring that it is free from errors and bugs, meets the specified requirements, and fulfills customer expectations.
Assurance: Assurance is a promise, confidence, or guarantee an organization gives end users that it will deliver a software product complying with their specified requirements and expectations.
Control: Control refers to managing and monitoring a software product to ensure it functions as intended. It involves checking errors and taking preventive measures to improve the product’s quality.
Let us now discuss the difference between quality assurance and quality control.
What is Quality Assurance (QA)?
Quality assurance (QA) refers to providing a guarantee to end users that they will get high-quality, error-free software products that meet their expectations.
It involves a set of processes, techniques, and methods to ensure that software products comply with customers’ requirements and other quality standards. These standards include ISO 9000, CMMI model, ISO15504, etc. Also, quality assurance ensures that the processes, techniques, and methods used are free from irregularities and defects.
The primary goal of QA is to prevent defects by recognizing flaws in the process of developing high-quality software products. It is a proactive and preventive process. Hence, it is also sometimes known as the ‘Zero Defect Approach’.
Example of Quality Assurance
Here are some examples of QA-
- Planning the implementation of a project.
- Documenting all processes and techniques to be used in software development.
- Selecting and training the staff.
- Creating flowcharts and schedules.
- Inspecting the checklist.
- Internal and external audits.
Advantages of Quality Assurance
Here are some remarkable benefits of QA-
- QA identifies and fixes bugs in the early stages of SDLC.
- It reduces the final cost of software products, as it prevents most of the potential bugs at the early stage of development.
- QA ensures that software products are developed in accordance with the applicable regulations. Hence, It reduces the risk of financial penalties.
- As QA monitors processes and methods to deliver high-quality products, it improves process controls.
- It makes the work for the quality control (QC) team easy and smooth.
Disadvantages of Quality Assurance
Though quality assurance provides valuable benefits, there are some significant drawbacks-
- The cost to implement the QA process is expensive.
- Careful planning, execution, and monitoring of processes and techniques require a lot of time.
- It requires highly-killed QA professionals. Hence, organizations first need to invest in training the staff.
- It requires a lot of resources, such as tools and training.
What is Quality Control?
Quality Control (QC) is concerned with controlling defects or bugs in software products by identifying and fixing them. Unlike QA, which focuses on monitoring software development processes and techniques, QC ensures that the final product meets customers’ requirements and is flawless.
The primary goal of QC is to detect and address all possible issues before moving software products to the production stage. This way, it reduces possible risks of defects, costs, and waste of resources and ensures maximum customer satisfaction.
Quality control is a reactive process implemented in the testing phase of SDLC. The QC team carries it out after quality assurance.
Examples of Quality Control
A few examples of QC are-
- Testing and debugging
- Peer reviews
Advantages of Quality Control
The following are the major advantages of QC-
- Quality control uncovers and addresses potential defects and irregularities.
- Defect-free software products improve customer satisfaction, which, in turn, helps organizations increase their sales.
Disadvantages of Quality Control
Here are the significant disadvantages of QC-
- The process of QC is time-consuming.
- It cannot prevent defects.
- It requires a lot of resources, like tools and highly-skilled staff.
- The cost of production increases.
Quality Assurance vs Quality Control (QA vs QC) – A Head-to-Head Comparison
QA and QC are tightly related but slightly different. However, both are required to ensure the delivery of high-grade, defect-free software products.
The primary difference between QA and QC is that QA focuses on preventing defects, and QC focuses on identifying and addressing defects.
|Quality Assurance (QA)||Quality Control (QC)|
|It assures that a software product under development will be of high quality.||It ensures the delivery of the software product’s assured quality.|
|QA takes place during the development phase of the software development life cycle.||QC takes place during the testing phase of the software development life cycle.|
|It is static, as it analyzes the processes and methods and not the end product.||It is dynamic and analyzes the actual product to uncover defects.|
|QA focuses on preventing defects.||QC focuses on detecting and fixing defects.|
|It is the process of managing quality.||It is the process of validating quality.|
|QA does not execute a software product’s source code.||QC executes the software product’s source code.|
|Verification is an example of QA.||Validation is an example of QC.|
|QA is a proactive and process-oriented approach.||QC is a reactive and product-oriented approach.|
|It involves outlining a detailed plan to carry out a process.||It involves executing the planned process.|
|QA indicates that you are doing the right things to deliver quality products.||QC indicates that you have developed the right product.|
|It is the process of creating deliverables.||It is the process of verifying deliverables.|
|Carrying out QA activities is the responsibility of the whole team involved in the Software development Life Cycle (SDLC).||Carrying out QC activities is the responsibility of the testing team involved in the Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC).|
|QA focuses on the intermediate process of software development.||QC focuses on the final product.|
Does Quality Assurance Remove the Need for Quality Control?
Many people have a question – Why do we need quality control after quality assurance? Well, we will try to clear up this confusion here.
Quality assurance is all about defining processes, procedures, and strategies, establishing standards, and creating checklists that need to be followed throughout SDLC.
On the other hand, quality control is all about putting into practice all processes, strategies, and standards defined by QA.
Hence, QA and QC go hand-in-hand to ensure that software products meet quality standards and customer expectations.
This was all about Quality Assurance vs Quality Control. QA and QC together help organizations ensure the delivery of software products that comply with customer expectations and quality standards. QA is a process-oriented approach that prevents defects. On the other hand, QC is a product-oriented approach that discovers and addresses defects.
We hope this article has helped you understand the thin line between QA and QC. Still, if you have any queries, let us know in the comments below.
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Kuldeep is the founder and lead author of ArtOfTesting. He is skilled in test automation, performance testing, big data, and CI-CD. He brings his decade of experience to his current role where he is dedicated to educating the QA professionals. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.