Quality Assurance vs Testing vs Quality Control

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Quality Assurance vs Testing vs Quality Control

by durgesh.kaushik on December 17, 2010

Today, almost every organization has a QA department that is responsible for “testing” software applications to discover and eliminate bugs. However, there is a fundamental flaw in this definition of the role of QA in an organization. Most executives that I have talked to, fail to understand the difference between Quality Assurance and Testing, and oftentimes use these terms alternatively.

So, what is the difference between QA and testing, or rather QA and Quality Control (QC)? Before we talk about QA vs testing, let’s try to understand what exactly quality control is and why I brought it up!

Quality control is a set of “activities” that need to be performed in order to detect problems during production and before the product goes live. These activities ensure that final deliverable meets the specifications and quality standards set by the organization. QC often includes peer reviews, “testing”, code reviews etc.

In theory, quality control can be achieved with minimal testing. For example, a thorough review of source code and checks for known previously problems can reduce the possibility of defects and might be enough to meet the quality standards set by the organization. However still, in most cases, testing is the most important activity for quality control, but it is not the ‘only’ activity. Quality control is extremely important for ensuring that applications are bug free and meet the specifications and requirements, but QC might not always be the most efficient ways of ensuring quality. This is where Quality Assurance plays its role. But it is a concept that is often misunderstood by even the most experienced professions.

To put it in simple words, Quality assurance is about engineering “processes“that assure quality. Now let’s try to understand it better!

The keyword to pay attention to is “processes”. QA extends far beyond what we call the...
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