In this article, we will examine two key aspects of quality management: quality assurance and quality control. These are two broad approaches that businesses use to ensure that their products or services meet the needs and expectations of customers. Quality assurance involves building quality into the business processes and operations to ensure that high-quality products and services are consistently produced. Quality control involves inspecting and testing products and services to ensure that they meet the required standards. Together, quality assurance and quality control form the foundation of a strong quality management system.
Quality Assurance (QA) is a method of ensuring that quality is built into a product or service from the start. This approach involves organizing business operations and processes in a way that prioritizes quality. The goal of quality assurance is to build quality into every aspect of the business, from management to production to customer service. By adopting a quality assurance approach, an organization can work to consistently deliver high-quality products and services.
Quality Control (QC) is all about inspections that try to find defective products before the customer gets them. Quality control is a reactive approach that involves inspecting products to ensure that they meet required quality standards. This is typically done through a set of processes and tests to ensure the quality of software products. Quality control is a high-level activity that focuses on identifying and fixing errors, mistakes, and issues that quality assurance may not have identified. It is a reactive and corrective approach that is typically a part of the software testing life cycle (STLC) and is performed by a testing team. Quality control is the mechanism used in checks or tests that are performed to ensure that the final product is free from defects and meets the required specifications. In software testing, Quality control is usually a set of processes and tests determining to ensure the quality of software products. QC is part of the Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC), and the Testing Team is responsible. QC is a high-level activity that could identify mistakes, errors, and issues that QA cannot identify. Unlike QA, QC is a Reactive and Corrective approach, thus, identifying and fixing bugs.
A deep dive into Quality Assurance
Quality assurance is a proactive and preventive approach to ensuring the quality of a product or service. It involves examining every part of the production process and putting in place processes and checks to minimize the chance of producing a substandard or poor-quality product or service. Quality assurance helps to provide confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled and is often referred to as QA testing. In software development, quality assurance is the practice of ensuring that a company is providing a top-quality software product to its customers.
Quality assurance is all about the processes and checks a business puts in place to ensure that production quality meets customers’ needs. The main focus of quality assurance is to try to organize all aspects of operations so that the chance of a substandard or poor-quality product or service is minimized. In short, QA ideally eliminates it.
Quality assurance is a challenging and complicated thing to do. And we can very well imagine that it can’t be done overnight. Thus, a key focus of quality assurance is to look at every aspect of the production process. QA must be in place right from the start of the design and development stage until the end. It must ensure that all aspects of needed quality are built into every step of the production process.
Some examples of QA activities include audits (project or process audits), process documentation, process checklists, and process standards.
Quality assurance in software is the practice of ensuring that a company is providing top-quality, validated software products to its customers. QA is a part of quality management mainly focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled. It is often called QA testing.
Quality assurance is performed before quality control. It is done in each stage of production activity which could identify errors and issues that quality control cannot identify. The QA process must be part of the software development life cycle (SDLC) and should have a whole team allocated and responsible for maintaining quality.
In summary, quality assurance is a proactive and preventive approach to ensuring the quality of a product or service. It involves examining every part of the production process and putting in place processes and checks to minimize the chance of producing a substandard or poor-quality product or service. Quality assurance is important for providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled and is typically performed before quality control. It is a part of the software development life cycle (SDLC) and should have a whole team allocated and responsible for maintaining quality. Quality assurance is all about the processes and checks a business puts in place to ensure that production quality meets customers’ needs and is focused on organizing all aspects of operations to minimize the chance of producing a substandard or poor-quality product or service.
Quality Assurance ensures quality:
- Internally to Management or Business
- Externally to customers
- Others like Government Regulators, Certifiers, etc.,
How is Quality Control different from Quality Assurance?
Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) are two important approaches used in quality management to ensure that a product or service meets the needs and expectations of customers. While both approaches are focused on ensuring quality, they differ in their approach and focus.
QA is an approach that aims to ensure that quality is built into a product or service from the start. It involves organizing a business, managing operations, and all other aspects of business processes in a way that ensures that quality is built into the process. The main focus of QA is to minimize or eliminate the chance of producing a substandard or poor-quality product or service by organizing all aspects of operations. QA must be in place from the start of the design and development stage until the end and must ensure that all aspects of needed quality are built into every step of the production process. Examples of QA activities include audits, process documentation, process checklists, and process standards.
In contrast, QC is a process of inspecting products to ensure that they meet required quality standards. It is a reactive and corrective approach that is used to identify and fix defects in a product or service. QC is a traditional way of managing quality and is an important process for ensuring that substandard output products or services are stopped from reaching the customer such as those outlined in ISO 9000 guidelines. QC involves reviewing the quality of all factors involved in production, such as checking for defects or errors. In software testing, QC involves using a set of processes and tests to ensure the quality of software products. QC is part of the Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC) and is typically carried out by a testing team. Unlike Quality Assurance (QA), which is focused on preventing defects by building quality into the process, QC is a reactive and corrective approach that is used to identify and fix defects in a product or service. QC is a high-level activity that can identify mistakes, errors, and issues that QA cannot identify.
If the sampling process is well-organized and can be conducted with minimal disruption to production, it is possible to consistently apply higher standards and improve the overall quality of the product. By raising the standard, more products that do not meet the required quality criteria may fail a QC check. It is important to carefully plan and execute the sampling process in order to accurately assess the quality of the product and identify any defects that may have been missed during QA.
However, there are some drawbacks to relying on quality inspection as a primary means of ensuring product quality. One issue is that it can be expensive, especially if it is performed mainly at the end of the production process, just before the product is shipped to the customer. By this point, a significant amount of time and resources have already been invested in the product, and it may be too late to fix any defects that are discovered during inspection. Additionally, there is a risk that inspections may be inconsistent, with different inspectors applying different standards. This can lead to inconsistency in the quality of the final product, which may not meet customer expectations. To mitigate these risks, it is important to have clear policies and procedures in place for quality inspection and to ensure that inspectors are properly trained and qualified to carry out their duties.
Quality Control (QC) is critical for maintaining the overall integrity of a project. It involves verifying that all products installed or supplied on-site meet the specified specifications. QC is responsible for finding defects, including those that may not be visible to the naked eye. To be effective, QC personnel should be highly competent and thorough, and they should proactively inspect on-site installations to prevent the need for rectification work. If there are significant mistakes made during the installation process, it can result in a non-conformance letter, which can have significant consequences for the project. Therefore, it is important to have a robust QC process in place to ensure that all products and installations meet the required standards.
One key difference between QA and QC is the focus of each approach. QA is focused on preventing defects from occurring by building quality into the process, while QC is focused on identifying and correcting defects that have already occurred. QA is typically performed before QC and is a proactive approach, while QC is typically performed after QA and is a reactive approach.
Another difference between QA and QC is the stage of the production process at which they are performed. QA is typically performed throughout the entire production process, while QC is typically performed at the end of the process, just before the product is shipped to the customer. This means that QA has the potential to identify and address issues earlier in the production process, while QC is more focused on identifying issues that have already occurred.
In summary, QA and QC are two important approaches used in quality management to ensure that a product or service meets the needs and expectations of customers. QA is focused on preventing defects by building quality into the process, while QC is focused on identifying and correcting defects that have already occurred. QA is typically performed throughout the entire production process, while QC is typically performed at the end of the process, just before the product is shipped to the customer. While both approaches are important for ensuring quality, they have different focuses and are performed at different stages of the production process.
It’s important for businesses to have both QA and QC in place to ensure the highest level of quality for their products or services. QA helps to prevent defects from occurring by examining every aspect of the production process, while QC helps to identify and fix defects that have already occurred. By combining both approaches, businesses can ensure that their products or services meet the needs and expectations of their customers and are of the highest quality.
To effectively implement QA and QC in their business, companies should have a clear understanding of the differences between the two approaches and how they fit into the overall quality management process. They should also have clear policies and procedures in place for both QA and QC, as well as trained and qualified personnel responsible for carrying out these activities. By following best practices and investing in quality management, businesses can improve the quality of their products or services, increase customer satisfaction, and ultimately drive business success.
The goal of both Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) is to improve the quality of software. However, QA and QC are not interchangeable and have distinct roles and responsibilities. Some of the main differences between QA and QC include:
|Quality Assurance (QA)||Quality Control (QC)|
|QA is primarily focused on ensuring that the customer’s needs and expectations are met by building quality into every aspect of the production process. It involves establishing standards and processes to be followed throughout the production cycle, and regularly evaluating and improving these processes to ensure that they are effective in meeting customer requirements. QA emphasizes the importance of customer satisfaction and works to ensure that every step in the production process meets the necessary quality standards.||QC is primarily focused on ensuring that products or services meet the required quality standards. This involves inspecting and testing products or services to identify and fix defects before they reach the customer. QC is a reactive process, as it is concerned with identifying and fixing issues after they have occurred.|
|QA is a holistic approach to ensuring that the quality of a product or service meets the needs and expectations of the customer. QA is not limited to the production process, but rather it is concerned with every aspect of the business, from design and development to customer service.||QC is focused on ensuring that the output of production activities meets the required quality standards. This involves inspecting and testing products or services to identify and fix defects before they reach the customer.|
|QA ensures that Quality is built into the product||QC ensures that Defective products are inspected out|
|QA is achieved by improving the production process||QC is achieved by sampling and checking (inspection)|
|QA aims to build and maintain processes that prevent defects or issues from occurring in the first place. By carefully designing and implementing processes that are followed throughout the business, QA helps to ensure that the quality of the product or service meets the needs and expectations of the customer.||QC focuses on output, that is, testing a product that when used can identify Bugs to improve the Quality|
|QA is a proactive approach to preventing defects or issues from occurring in a product or service.||QC is a process for identifying and addressing defects or issues that have occurred in a product or service. This reactive approach involves inspecting and testing products to ensure that they meet the required quality standards.|
|In software dev, the project team, made up of developers and testers, works together to create a process that will prevent defects or issues from occurring. This process involves regularly reviewing and evaluating the current process, identifying any areas that need improvement, and making necessary changes.||In software dev, a dedicated team of testers is responsible for identifying defects or issues in the software. These testers report any identified bugs to the developers and project team, who then work to fix them. Once the bugs have been fixed, the testers retest the software to ensure that the issues have been properly addressed. This process helps to improve the overall quality of the software and ensures that it meets the needs and expectations of the customer. QC is a corrective measure that helps to identify and fix defects in the software, ultimately resulting in a higher quality product.|
A Quality Management System (QMS) is a framework that an organization uses to ensure that its internal processes and external interactions consistently meet specified quality standards and requirements. This includes both the requirements set by the organization itself and those imposed by external stakeholders such as customers and regulators. The QMS helps the organization to efficiently meet these requirements and improve overall quality.
To achieve this goal, a QMS is implemented. A QMS is a systematic and organized approach to managing an organization’s processes in order to consistently meet the requirements and expectations of internal and external stakeholders. It includes establishing policies, procedures, and processes for continually improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization’s operations. The QMS is an ongoing process that includes all levels of the organization, from top management to the front-line staff, and aims to continuously improve the quality of products, services, and processes.
A QMS helps an organization to align its operations with its desired level of quality, as well as to continuously improve and optimize those operations. By following a QMS, an organization can demonstrate its commitment to quality and customer satisfaction, and may also be able to differentiate itself in the marketplace. Ultimately, the goal of a QMS is to improve the overall performance and efficiency of an organization, while also reducing the risk of errors or non-conformances.
Here are five steps to follow to easily establish a quality management system for your organization.
- The first step in establishing a Quality Management System is to define the organization’s vision and direction with regard to quality. This is typically achieved through the creation of a quality policy, which outlines the leadership team’s views on quality and provides a clear direction for the company. The quality policy should also consider the need to comply with legal regulations and meet the requirements of customers, as well as the importance of continuously improving and learning from mistakes. By providing a clear direction for the organization and its employees, the quality policy helps to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals and objectives.
- The second step is that the organization has to do some planning on how it would implement the quality management system into the organization.
- After creating a plan, the organization should then put it into action and test its effectiveness. Even if the plan is initially successful, it is important to continuously monitor and adapt to changes in the market and customer needs. Testing and evaluation allow the organization to ensure that the plan is still relevant and effective.
- The next step in the quality management process involves evaluating (measuring) and analyzing the results of the testing to confirm that the implemented processes are meeting the needs of the customer.
- The final step in the quality management process is to act and improve. After reviewing the results of testing to ensure that customer requirements are being met, the leadership team should consider any necessary actions. For example, if certain requirements are not being met, they may need to analyze the situation and take steps to improve. This continuous improvement journey helps the organization to consistently meet customer requirements at a higher level, using fewer resources and with less deviation.
Quality is the ultimate goal for any organization. By establishing and consistently adhering to a quality management system that includes defining a quality policy, setting quality objectives, implementing processes, measuring and reviewing results, and taking action to improve, a company can become excellent over time. It is essential to continuously improve this system in order to consistently meet customer requirements at a high level with minimal resources and deviation.
The size and complexity of the system your organization establishes will depend on your specific needs, business model, and goals. You can customize the approach to fit your requirements and create a structure that helps you consistently achieve high-quality results and meet the necessary requirements. For larger, more established organizations, the system may be more complex, while smaller, younger organizations may have a simpler, leaner system in place.
Total quality management involves managing the organization with a focus on continuous improvement. This means that the organization’s culture is structured to consistently seek out ways to improve processes and operations. The goal of total quality management is to create a culture that is dedicated to constantly improving the way things are done.
Total quality management is a form of quality assurance that can be successful if all employees in the organization are involved in the effort, not just those in production. This means that every member of the workforce is responsible for maintaining and improving quality. By involving all employees in the pursuit of quality, the organization can achieve a strong culture of quality assurance.
A culture of quality is essential for the success of an organization. While it may be challenging to cultivate this culture, it can be a highly effective and profitable way to run a business because it eliminates the need for separate quality inspection. When employees are deeply involved in all aspects of production and the product, they are empowered and motivated to deliver high-quality output. By fostering a culture of quality, the organization can ensure that all employees are committed to delivering the best possible results.
One potential downside of implementing a culture of total quality management is that it can be difficult to establish and maintain. Strong leadership and a deep commitment to quality are necessary to make it successful. Implementing a quality assurance program may also require a significant investment in training and support so that all employees understand its goals and are able to contribute to improving processes. Every employee should be involved and empowered to identify small ways to improve the way things are done in order to achieve higher quality. While it may be challenging, the introduction of improved quality processes through quality assurance is a valuable concept in operations management.
eLeaP is a web-based People Success Enablement Platform that can help organizations achieve high quality through its detail-oriented and empowering training. The platform has a user-friendly interface that allows training managers with a range of technical skills to create, manage, and track interactive training courses and learning programs for all levels of users. eLeaP’s training tracking software module can also be used to register and track in-person, instructor-led training and provide continuing education credits.
If you are using a general-purpose learning management system (LMS) to manage your training, you may need to invest significant time and effort in customizing it to meet your specific needs. This can also involve taking on additional risks, as the system may not be built with regulatory best practices in mind. In contrast, our eLeaP learning management software system is flexible, validated, adaptable, and customizable, and can be set up and running quickly with no special training required. It is designed to be user-friendly and easy to use, so you can get started right away.