A quality assurance definition is an important concept for any organization seeking to improve processes and procedures. A common misconception or point of confusion is the concept of quality assurance (QA) vs. quality control (QC).
Quality Control practices can be thought of as “after the fact”. These practices ensure that the products or services being delivered have gone through appropriate test and verification procedures. Quality assurance procedures are “before the fact” and define what quality measures are applicable for your organization
When considering the establishment of a quality assurance function within your company, the first and most important step is to completely understand this concept before moving forward with QA initiatives.
Here are the key points of a Quality assurance definition:
quality is an attribute of a product or service
quality is achieved through the establishment of processes
a process is a set of activities used to create a product
once the process is consistent, it replicates the product with consistent characteristics
Simply put, this means that you make some rules and then follow them to produce a consistently qua lit (hopefully high quality) product.
Understanding the QA definition is a start and is relatively easy and straightforward. Once you “get it,” then you have to apply these rules to produce measurable results.
Quality assurance is a long-term, on-going effort and requires the appropriate mind-set and a real understanding of the value it provides to the long-term health of the company.
Quality assurance is all about establishing long-term processes as opposed to simply producing short term-results. If you’ve heard the investment term “value investing”, think of quality assurance as the software equivalent of that investment technique.
To start, let's address some common objections raised when planning the implementation of a formal QA function:
employees may think it’s a waste of their time
processes become obsolete
processes are difficult to use
employees will require training in processes
processes are not measurable
measurement can threaten employees
These are all valid concerns, and giving some thought to answering each of these objections is the first step in resolving and overcoming them.