What is quality assurance?
Quality assurance (QA) is the systematic process of determining whether a product or service meets specified requirements. It also provides us with requirements to develop or manufacture reliable products.
In this article, we will try to familiarize you with some basic concepts of this field:
- Definition of quality assurance
- Quality assurance courses
- Description of duties of quality assurance expert
- Description of the duties of the quality assurance manager
- Difference between QA and QC
What is QA?
ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is a driving force behind the practices and processes used to implement QA. QA is often paired with the ISO 9000 series of international standards. Many companies use ISO 9001 to ensure that their quality system is robust and effective.
This system aims to increase customer trust, the credibility of a company, and at the same time improve the work processes and efficiency of the organization, and enables the company to compete better with others. Before we get into the details, we need to familiarize ourselves with two general concepts:
In simple words, quality means the degree and degree of fulfillment of requirements and demands. It’s all about meeting the needs and expectations of customers in terms of performance, design, reliability, durability and product price.
The concept of warranty is nothing more than a statement that assures you that a product or service will work without any problems according to expectations or requirements.
History of ISO and QA
ISO opened in Geneva in 1947 and published its first standard in 1951 on reference temperatures for industrial measurements. This organization gradually grew and expanded the scope of its standards. Simple concepts of quality assurance date back to the Middle Ages. QA practices became more important in the United States during World War II, when large volumes of ammunition had to be inspected.
The importance of quality assurance
QA helps companies deliver products and services that meet customer expectations and needs. Producing a high-quality product creates trust and loyalty in customers. The standards and procedures defined by a QA program help prevent product defects.
An organization should use this concept to ensure that the product is designed and implemented with correct procedures. This helps to reduce the occurrence of problems and errors in the final product. Acquiring quality assurance certification shows that one is professionally equipped with standard principles, skills and abilities.
How to implement QA
Quality assurance methodology has a defined cycle called PDCA cycle or Deming cycle. The stages of this cycle are:
- Planning: The organization must plan to achieve relevant goals and ultimately produce high-quality products.
- Implementation: The planned processes should be implemented and developed according to the needs of the day.
- Review: Operations should be modified and checked to see if the current process meets the predetermined goals or not.
- Improvement: A quality assurance tester must take steps to achieve improvements in processes.
The above steps are repeated to ensure that the processes followed in the organization are periodically evaluated and improved.
The difference between quality assurance (QA), quality control (QC) and testing
It is important to know the difference between quality assurance and quality control . These two systems are related in parts but are introduced as two different aspects of quality management. The quality system includes QC and QA. Quality control and testing are subsets of quality assurance activities.
Testing is a basic activity aimed at identifying and solving technical problems in software. It also has the ability to evaluate the overall performance and security of the product. This method has a very limited focus and is carried out by test engineers, in parallel with the development process or in a dedicated testing phase (depending on the methodological approach of software development).
Some people may confuse the term assurance with quality control. Although these two concepts have similarities, there are important differences between them.
Two main differences between quality assurance and quality control
Proactive QA and reactive QC
Quality assurance works proactively. This department seeks to discover and address the sources of quality problems, such as human or business error when using the wrong materials. The quality control team reacts and inspects the product for errors or components that are not built to specifications.
Here’s another way to understand the distinction: the QC team seeks to discover quality errors, while the QA team seeks to discover and fix problems that lead to quality errors.
QC after development and QA during the process
The quality control team performs its tests after the product is manufactured; Therefore, they only seek to discover errors and bugs before the company makes the product available to customers. But the QA team works throughout the development process and makes sure that every part of the product ends up being of high quality.
Examples of QA and QC
QA activities include process checklists, standards, documentation, and project audits. Examples of quality control activities include inspection, peer review of deliverables, and the software testing process.
Quality assurance certificates
There are several certifications in the industry to ensure that organizations follow standard quality processes. When choosing a service provider, customers consider these certifications as a measure of that organization’s eligibility.
ISO 9001 was created for the first time in 1987 and is related to quality management systems. This standard helps the organization to ensure quality for customers and other stakeholders. An organization that wishes to obtain the ISO 9000 series of certificates is audited based on its functions, products, services and processes. The main purpose is to check and confirm whether the organization is following the process as expected or whether the existing processes need improvement or not.
This certificate is effective in both quality areas. Among the advantages of this standard, we mention the following:
- Increase the profit of the organization
- Improving domestic and international trade
- Reducing waste and increasing employee productivity
- Providing customer satisfaction
Advantages of QA
- The quality of products and services is the main factor of competitive differentiation. Quality assurance helps ensure that organizations produce and distribute products that are free of defects and meet customer needs and expectations. High quality products lead to customer satisfaction, repeat purchase loyalty and increased sales.
- If a product is shipped to customers and found to be defective, the organization incurs costs in customer support, such as receiving defect reports and troubleshooting. It also charges the costs associated with fixing the defect, such as service or engineering hours to fix it, testing to verify accuracy, and the cost of sending the updated product to market. Quality assurance can lead to cost reductions due to preventing product defects.
Requirement to use QA
While it is human to err, sometimes it can cost the collection heavy. There are many examples of situations in history where software defects have resulted in the loss of billions of dollars or loss of life.
Quality assurance methods
QA uses one of the following three methods:
1- Test failure
In the failure test, we continuously test a product to determine its resistance. For physical products that need to withstand stress, this can include testing the product under heat, pressure or vibration. Crash testing of software products may involve subjecting the software to heavy use or load conditions.
2- Statistical process control (SPC)
It is a method based on data and objective analysis that was developed at Western Electric Company and Bell Telephone Laboratories in the 1920s and 1930s. This method uses statistical data to manage and control the production of products.
3- Total Quality Management (TQM)
TQM applies quantitative methods as a basis for continuous improvement and relies on the analysis of real data to support product quality production planning and production performance review.
Use of QA by industries
Below are some examples of quality assurance in use by industries:
An industry that formalized the discipline of quality assurance. Manufacturers must ensure that assembled products are produced without defects and meet defined product specifications and requirements.
In the food industry production process, X-ray systems are used to identify physical contaminants of food. X-ray systems ensure that contaminants are removed before products leave the factory.
Different quality assurance approaches are used during each stage of drug development. At various stages, QA processes include document review, equipment calibration verification, training record review, production record review, and market performance review.
Jobs in the QA field
A QA specialist reviews the implementation of the quality system and performs quality assurance audits. This team creates and implements well-defined standards, procedures, and methods to ensure repeatable results in the manufacturing process. A section of careers in QA includes career options such as engineers, analysts, and test automation.
SQA engineers test software through monitoring development. The analyst will implement SQA concepts and practices in software development cycles. Test automation requires someone to develop programs to automate the SQA process. These programs compare predicted results with actual results. This is used for continuous testing.
QA as a career
Quality assurance department is in demand in most organizations. You will always be in demand as a quality tester and there are always opportunities to grow your career to a management level.
For more information, we recommend you read the article ” Duties of Quality Assurance Manager and Quality Assurance Specialist “!
Quality assurance consultants
QA Consulting provides consulting services to commercial, financial and government organizations. They run a unique portfolio of client enablement programs where they deliver industry-leading capabilities in leading digital, middleware, SaaS and Big Data technologies.
Quality assurance engineers
The role of QA engineers varies by company and industry. For example, for software applications, a quality assurance engineer job description might include testing the following areas:
An organization with this title
QA is an organization in the field of technology and digital skills. It helps many companies around the world develop their technology and digital capabilities through cutting-edge training courses, bootcamps, and work-based learning and internship programs.
Does QA require coding?
You don’t need to master programming for QA testing jobs, but having the tools to learn software development will help you become a more successful QA tester.
Best practices for implementing QA
- Create a robust testing environment.
- Choose your publication criteria carefully.
- Apply automated testing to high-risk areas to save money. This helps speed up the whole process.
- Allocate time appropriately for each process.
- Prioritizing bug fixes based on software usage is very important.
- Form a dedicated security and performance testing team.
Types of quality assurance
Quality assurance includes inspection in the following steps:
- Pre-production (PPI)
- during production (DPI)
- Before Shipping (PSI)
- while loading (LS)
- and minor inspections
What is the first step of QA?
Identifying customer requirements is the first step in quality assurance, after which other essential elements of QA are identified. QA depends not only on QC but also on the activities of the whole company.
This cycle for QA consists of four stages:
- Planning: Know the goal and plan to make it happen.
- Implementation: Test the program on a small scale.
- Review: Review the test and analyze the results.
- Improvement: Based on what you learned in the review phase, take action to improve the process. If you don’t get the desired result, go through the cycle again with a different program.
Quality assurance tools
QA helps companies manage quality processes. These digital tools streamline deviations, corrective and preventive actions, and other processes and provide better visibility into a company’s quality assurance. There are several software platforms such as SQA that developers can use to automate and coordinate tests to facilitate QA goals.
SQA (supplier quality assurance) means supplier quality assurance. This tool is based on mainstream QA ideas. Software quality assurance systematically finds patterns and actions needed to improve development cycles. Finding and fixing coding errors can also have unintended consequences. Even with software updates, it is possible to fix one instance, but at the same time destroy other functions, which is usually known as a bug.
There are 5 main functions in quality assurance:
This function includes receiving the product design document as well as test, error and evaluation data. These documents are distributed, reviewed and approved.
A comprehensive validation program is prepared for the entire system. Approval of test criteria is determined for product and process validation. The planning of resources to execute a plan is validated.
Controls the distribution and filing of documents. Any change in a document is implemented by adopting the appropriate procedure.
Quality assurance courses
Quality assurance requires highly advanced skills to ensure that products meet the company’s superior standards. To increase your skills in this field, you can participate in QA related courses.
The quality assurance management course includes the following topics:
- Introduction to the job of quality assurance manager
- Familiarity with quality assurance systems and definitions according to the ISO9000:2015 standard
- Describe the requirements of ISO9001:2015
- Documentation based on the ISO10013:2021 standard
- 5S work environment grooming system
- Leadership and strategic management (SWOT analysis)
- ISO31000 risk management
- Human resource management and training
- Knowledge management and knowledge management documentation
- Problem solving techniques
- Audit of quality assurance systems based on the ISO19011:2018 standard
- Non-conformance, corrective action and improvement panel
Duties of qa
Quality Assurance Specialist responsibilities include developing quality standards, conducting tests, and identifying issues in the production of our products or services. Finally, you will work with a team to ensure that our final products meet our organization’s standards.
Description of the duties of the quality assurance manager
The Quality Assurance (QA) Manager will oversee the activities of the Quality Assurance department and staff, develop, implement and maintain the quality and reliability testing system for the organization’s products and/or development processes.
Description of duties of quality assurance expert
Quality assurance professionals are responsible for monitoring, inspecting and proposing measures to modify or improve a company’s final products and processes in order to meet established quality standards.
QA oversees the correct implementation of management systems and must provide full periodic reports of system progress to managers. Also, quality assurance examines the manufactured product. For this, the organization must follow processes and criteria that are periodically improved.
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