There is no denying the fact that quality assurance (QA) is an important part of software development today in the present times. So what is it, and why is it so necessary? We will discuss all these aspects in this article.
Let’s get started.
What is Quality Assurance, anyway?
In simple words, quality assurance is a systematic process to determine if a certain product or service is ready to be rolled out in the market and meets the specified requirements.
QA is governed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). As a matter of fact, it is often paired with the ISO 9000 international standard. This standard is so powerful that a company adhering to this standard clearly provides quality services.
Although majorly a part of the manufacturing industry, this practice soon got popular and is widely followed in the software development industry. Let’s see what makes QA so popular?
Importance of Quality Assurance in the software development industry
Quality assurance highlights any glitches and bugs before the software is pushed into the production stage and helps you in saving a lot of time and effort. You will understand this better after having a look at the following incidents which proved to be an expensive mistake for the companies due to inadequate testing:
- Faulty trading software led to a loss of $440 million in 45 minutes
Knight Capital, the US stock trader, incurred a loss of $440 million due to a bug in their trading software. The program basically got confused between the ‘ask’ and ‘bid’ price of the stock, and led the firm incur a loss of half-billion dollars in 45 minutes!
- Toyota Prius lost billions due to glitches in software
In 2010, Toyota ended up recalling around 400,000 Prius models due to a glitch in their car’s anti-lock system. This glitch was so severe that it could put the lives of passengers and drivers in danger. The company not only incurred heavy losses but also had to face various lawsuits, along with a dip in reputation.
These are just a few instances which depict the importance of quality assurance.
How to get started?
The quality assurance follows a defined cycle called PDCA cycle or Deming cycle. The cycle consists of various phases like:
Here, the organization needs to plan in advance and outline the desired objectives to determine the processes that are required to deliver a flawless end product.
The Do phase of the cycle mainly covers the development and proper testing of processes to make way for a high-quality product.
This process deals with testing – the testing of processes, their modification, and assurance that the final product will meet the end goals.
In this phase, the glitches and bugs identified in stage 3 are fixed to bring about an improvement in the final product.
This is how most software development companies proceed with the software development and ensure its quality.
Best Quality Assurance practices
To help you make a smart move, here is a quick glimpse of the best practices that every organization must stick to:
- Define release criteria with careful analysis
- Create a robust testing framework
- Allocate time for each process carefully and appropriately
- Prioritize bug fixes based on the software usage
- Save money by using automation testing in a high-risk area
- Have a proper security and performance testing team in place
- Stimulate real-world action in a proper environment
That said, it is important to mention here that quality assurance is not the same as testing.
Difference between Quality Assurance and testing
Testing is nothing but the actual testing of a product. It is a series of tests conducted on the final product before it goes live. As a matter of fact, testing involves the identification of bugs, errors, defects, and glitches in the software.
That is to say, it will not be wrong to say that testing is a part of quality assurance. Quality assurance is a cycle of various stages including software designing, testing, estimation, project management, and the likes.
The Wrap Up
By now, we are sure, you must have understood the basics of quality assurance and how important a role it plays in the software development cycle. Ideally, no product should be rolled out in the market without undergoing it through a QA cycle. What are your views on this? Let us know in the comments below.