Quality Assurance vs Quality Control - How Do They Differ?

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Quality Assurance vs Quality Control - How Do They Differ?

Sameeksha Medewar
Last updated on June 30, 2022

    Every organization strives to deliver defect-free and quality software products to end-users. To do so, they test software products before releasing them on the market. They implement quality assurance and quality control techniques in addition to software testing to deliver high-quality and defect-free software products.

    \Quality assurance is something that guarantees the delivery of high-quality software. Organizations that deliver software products to end-users assure that they will provide fully-functional and high-quality software products.

    On the other hand, quality control is associated with identifying bugs and errors in software products before releasing them to end-users. Also, it ensures that the software product meets the quality standards and requirements specified by clients or end-users.

    If you are not aware of the quality assurance and quality control processes and the differences between them, this article is a perfect guide for you.

    The article aims to make you familiar with the key differences between quality assurance and quality control. Also, it will provide an overview of the quality assurance and quality control processes, along with their advantages and disadvantages. But before we discuss all that, let us try to understand the terms quality,  assurance, and control.

    What are Quality, Assurance, and Control?

    Quality: The quality of the product is all about meeting the requirements and expectations of customers in terms of functionality, reliability, design, durability, and price. Also, it ensures that the product is free of bugs and errors. In short, quality stands for the best fit for use or purpose.

    Assurance: Assurance is a positive declaration regarding the product, which gives confidence that it will work well as expected. In other terms, we can state that assurance provides the guarantee that the product will work without any issues as per the requirements. Generally, organizations that develop software products give assurance to their customers that the products will work well and as expected.

    Control: In general, control means keeping something under certain limits. Also, it is the term associated with management, which assists in checking errors and taking preventive measures. In other terms, it is the measurement and correction of errors to improve the performance of a product.

    What is Quality Assurance (QA)?

    Quality Assurance (QA) in software testing is the process to ensure whether the software products or services that an organization provides to customers meet the specified requirements and quality standards. It is meant to increase customer satisfaction and a company’s credibility while improving the development process and efficiency.

    The primary objective of quality assurance (QA) is to have a flawless software development process and defect-free software product that meets customers’ requirements and expectations. Therefore, quality assurance is sometimes referred to as the ‘Zero Defect Approach’.

    There is a defined cycle to perform quality assurance called the PDCA cycle or Deming cycle. PDCA stands for Plan, Do, Check, and Act. Let us discuss each of these steps below:

    • Plan: In this step, organizations plan and establish objectives related to the product and determine the processes required to achieve the desired quality of the product.
    • Do: This step involves developing and testing the product as per the predetermined plan. Also, it involves making changes to the product as required.
    • Check: This step involves checking the product to ensure that it meets the predefined objectives.
    • Act: In this step, a quality assurance professional performs actions on the product to improve its performance.

    Advantages of Quality Assurance

    The following are the main advantages of QA:

    • It is capable of identifying bugs earlier.
    • Since QA prevents most of the bugs during the development phase, it reduces the final cost.
    • Both development and testing teams are involved in QA, thus they can collaborate effectively.
    • The QA team makes the tasks easy for the QC team.

    Disadvantages of Quality Assurance

    Here are some major drawbacks of QA:

    • QA requires high initial costs.
    • It is a time-consuming process.
    • You need to train the staff.
    • It consumes a lot of resources.

    Examples of Quality Assurance

    The following are the examples of quality assurance:

    • Project Planning
    • Process Analysis
    • Checklist Inspection
    • Selection of Team Members
    • Flowcharts and Schedules Preparation
    • Process Documentation
    • Verification

    What is Quality Control (QC)?

    Quality Control (QC) in software testing is the process that concentrates on identifying and fixing defects or errors to ensure the high quality of software products. The testing team is responsible to identify and fix the defects in the software product before making it live.

    Generally, quality control is performed after quality assurance. It is not concerned with the process involved in developing the software product. Instead, it focuses on examining the quality of the software product.

    The primary objective of quality control is to identify bugs and errors in software products at the end of the software development life cycle (SDLC). Also, it aims to make sure that the software product adheres to the requirements and specifications of the customer.

    Advantages of Quality Control

    Here are the remarkable benefits of QC:

    • QC ensures the delivery of defect-free software, and hence, ensures customer satisfaction.
    • If there are no defects in the product, there is no need to find out solutions, which results in reduced costs.
    • It helps organizations to build credibility and increase sales by delivering defect-free products.

    Disadvantages of Quality Control

    The following are the downsides of QC:

    • QC is a time-consuming process.
    • Like QA, it requires a lot of resources, especially human resources.
    • It increases the production cost.

    Examples of Quality Control

    The following are the examples of quality control:

    • Inspection
    • Measurements
    • Validation
    • Testing and Debugging
    • Peer Reviews

    Quality Assurance vs Quality Control: Head-to-Head Comparison

    The following table draws the comparison between quality assurance and quality control:

    Parameters Quality Assurance Quality Control
    Definition Quality Assurance is the process to ensure that the software product that an organization delivers to its customers meets the quality standards and functions as expected. Quality Control is the process of detecting and fixing bugs and errors found in the software product.
    When to Perform It is performed throughout the development phase of the software product. QC is performed in the software testing phase of SDLC. It is always performed after quality assurance.
    Aim Quality assurance aims to prevent defects during the development of the software. Quality control aims to ensure that the software is defect-free by identifying and fixing defects at the end of SDLC.
    Orientation Quality assurance is process-oriented. Quality control is product-oriented.
    Type of process It is a proactive process to enhance the overall development process so that there are no defects in the testing process. It is a reactive process and is concerned to identify bugs after the development process but before the release of the software product.
    Type of Technique QA is a preventive technique, which prevents quality issues. QC is a corrective technique, which identifies and corrects bugs or errors.
    Involvement QA involves the entire development team, including software developers and testers of the software product. QC only involves the testing team of the software product.
    Example Verification is an example of QA. Validation is an example of QC.

    Quality Assurance vs Quality Control: Which is Better?

    Both quality assurance and quality control are necessary to guarantee that software products are defect-free and meet the quality requirements set by customers or stakeholders. There is no choice in the software development life cycle to choose quality assurance over quality control or vice versa.

    Quality assurance takes place throughout the development process, whereas quality control occurs during the software testing phase of SDLC. As a result, both QA and QC are essential to ensure that the software product is free of defects and functions as expected. They both compliment each other and are inefficient without each other.

    Conclusion

    QA and QC are the two sides of the same coin and work well together to deliver successful and fully-functional software products. Also, QA and QC are inefficient without one other. If you only perform QA, you can improve the development process to prevent errors, but you cannot check your product as a whole. On the flip side, if you only choose QC, you cannot find the root cause of defects and errors identified in QC.

    We hope this article has helped you understand all the key differences between QA and QC. If you have any doubts regarding this topic, feel free to share them in the comments section below.

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    FAQs


    Quality Assurance and Quality control are processes to ensure that the software is of high quality and is free from defects or errors. On the other hand, testing is embedded within the quality control process, which means that testing is part of the QC process.

    Quality assurance is performed before quality control. QA takes place throughout the software development life cycle, whereas QC takes place in the software testing phase of SDLC.

    The following are the three major reasons to perform QA and QC processes: 1. Deliver defect-free software 2. Reduce the cost of errors 3. Increase the credibility of organizations and increase sales.

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