Jan 15, 2008

What QA Really Means

I’m going on meeting people who are into the IT industry but do not distinguish between quality assurance and quality control. Many of us say that QA is testing. I think this is partially because of "tradition" – we tell a word and know that we are understood correctly, and this is Ok. But I’ve noticed that often this “traditional” usage is not always accompanied with understanding of the formal terminology.

When we have finished producing something, we control its quality. In case of software development this activity called testing. Based on the evaluation of the results of quality control we can learn and adjust our process to ensure better quality in future projects or iterations.

So when quality control is usually performed by testers only, quality assurance involves all members of the process. Managers contribute to quality assurance by developing and keeping instructions, guidelines, etc. up to date and making sure that employees follow the process. Employees’ quality assurance duties are commonly limited to following processes but it is good practice to encourage them to contribute to quality assurance more, for instance by proposing improvements to procedures.

Do you know people who don’t know the difference?

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