A couple of years ago I got the PMP certification. One of the areas of study was Quality Management. It allowed me to understand the difference between quality assurance and quality control. They’re quite different, and it’s easy to get the concepts mixed up.
Does your Software Company Perform QA, QC, or Both?
Before diving into the differences between QA and QC, let’s talk about Quality. Quality is defined as “the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfill requirements.”1 It’s important to plan for quality because it won’t be there unless you take specific actions to make sure it happens. Also, quality begins at the start of each project. It’s important to recognize that preventing mistakes is generally cheaper than correcting them, and everyone is responsible for quality.
Quality assurance is defined as “the application of planned, systematic quality activities to ensure that the project will employ all processes needed to meet requirements.”2 Have you ever heard of continuous process improvement? Or process analysis? This is quality assurance, making sure the documentation process follows the standards and that your project follows the defined process/methodology. This is done by not skipping steps and by having a process to approve change requests. You can think of QA as defect prevention. It is process oriented.
Quality Control involves monitoring specific project results to determine whether they comply with relevant quality standards and identifying ways to eliminate causes of unsatisfactory results.2 The tools used by QC include inspection of the deliverables, and creation of charts (like cause and effect diagrams, histograms, flowcharts, scatter diagrams, and defect repair review) all to make sure defects are fixed. You can think of Quality Control as defect detection. It is product oriented.
Keep in mind Quality Assurance and Quality Control are not independent from each other. Quality Assurance sends input to quality control, and in turn, Quality Control gives feedback back to Quality Assurance. This helps make sure the process improves and defects never happen again.
Do you have any software project that needs exceptional Quality Assurance and Quality Control? Contact us, we can hep! Our team is ready to take on exciting projects and challenges.
1 American Society of Quality, 2000
2 PMBOK Guide