Does Quality Assurance Remove Need for Quality Control?

This is a guest post by Meenal Balajiwale.

“If QA (Quality Assurance) is done then why do we need to perform QC (Quality Control)?”, This thought may come to our minds at times and it seems to be a valid point too.  This means, if we have followed all the pre-defined processes, policies & standards correctly and completely then why do we need to perform a round of QC?

Does Quality Assurance Remove Need for Quality Control_

In my opinion, QC is required after QA is done. While doing ‘QA’, we define the processes, policies & strategies, establish standards, develop checklists etc. that needs to be used and followed throughout the life cycle of a project. And while doing QC we follow all those defined processes, standards and policies that we laid down in QA to make sure that the project is maintaining high quality and the final outcome of the project at least meets the customer’s expectations.

QA_QC

QC looks at the end of the line while QA looks further down the line. QC aims at detecting & correcting the issues while QA aims at preventing the issues to occur.

QCQA

QA does not assure quality, rather it creates and ensures the processes are being followed to assure quality. QC does not control quality, rather it measures quality. QC measurement results can be utilized to correct/modify QA processes which can be successfully implemented in new projects as well.

Quality control activities are focused on the deliverable itself. Quality assurance activities are focused on the processes followed to create the deliverable. QA and QC are both part of Quality management and these are the powerful techniques which can be used to ensure that the deliverables are of high quality and meet expectations of the customers.

QM

When we talk about the software testing, it falls in the domain of quality control because it focuses on the product or application. We test the quality in order to control it. Furthermore, quality assurance makes sure that we are doing the testing in the right way.

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E.g.: Suppose we need to use an Issue tracking system to log the bugs during the testing of a web application. QA would include defining the standard for adding a bug and what all details should be there in a bug like a summary of the issue, where it is observed, steps to reproduce the bugs, screenshots etc. This is a process to create a deliverable called ‘bug–report’. When a bug is actually added in issue tracking system based on these standards then that bug report is our deliverable. This activity is a part of QA process.


Now, suppose some time at a later stage of the project, we realize that adding ‘probable root cause’ to the bug based on tester’s analysis would provide some more insight to the Dev team, then we will update our pre-defined process and finally, it will be reflected in our bug reports as well. Adding this extra information in the bug report to support faster & better resolution of the issue is a part of QC Process. So, this is how QC gives its inputs to QA to further improve the QA and final deliverables.

Following is an example of a real life scenario for QA / QC:

QA Example:

Quality Assurance

Suppose our team has to work on a completely new technology for an upcoming project. Our team members are new to the technology. So, for that, we need to create a plan for getting the team members trained in the new technology. Based on our knowledge, we need to collect pre-requisites like DOU (Document of Understanding), design document, technical requirement document, functional requirement document, etc. and share these with the team. This would be helpful while working on the new technology and even would be useful for any newcomer in the team. This collection & distribution of documentation and then kicking off the training program is a part of QA process.

QC Example:

Quality Control

Once the training is completed, how can we make sure that the training was successfully done for all the team members? For this purpose, we will have to collect statistics e.g. number of marks the trainees got in each subject and the minimum number of marks expected after completing the training. Also, we can make sure that everybody has taken training in full by verifying the attendance record of the candidates. If the marks scored by candidates are up to the expectations of the trainer/evaluators, then we can say that the training is successful otherwise we will have to improve our process in order to deliver high-quality training. Another way to improve the training process would be collecting feedback from the trainees at the end of the training program. Their feedback will tell us what was good about the training and what are the areas where we can improve the quality of training. So, such activities are a part of QA process.

Hope this explains the difference between QA and QC.

Takeaway: QA & QC both are different from each other and required as part of quality management. They should not be misunderstood as interchangeable terms. QA is process focused while QC is end-product focused.

Quality control is inspecting something (a product or a service) to ensure that it is working fine. If the product or service is not working fine, then the issue needs to be fixed or eliminated in order to meet conformance standards. So, it aims at detecting and correcting issues.

Quality assurance, on the other hand, aims at preventing the issues from occurring in future by improving the process.

To summarize, we can say that Quality assurance does not eliminate the need of Quality control as QC lies at the very core of Quality management.

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About Author: Meenal is Team Lead specialized in overall QA process for performing functional, data testing, performance testing and security testing for various projects. She is also worked on Waterfall and Agile models.

I would like all of you to please join this discussion and add more valuable points to it. Thanks.




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40 comments ↓

#1 Murtuza

there is lot of confusion on these terms. QC is more common to manufacturing industry. In software it means checking the software against some requirment already set.

thanks for the clarification though.

#2 suhas

Neatly explained with examples great. Here is what i know little about QA and QC,

QA is process oriented and QC is product oriented.

Like in QA we will ensure that the defined objectives are met while developing a product where as in QC we evaluate the product.

#3 Rajaselvan

I could understand the QA and QC process very well and your real time examples are good.

Thanking You

#4 Vinod Malhotra

A ‘control’ process that just focuses on measurements and reporting of stats does not truely result in quality software. Quality starts from requirement specification and is relevant at every stage of software development cycle. Testing and related QC are reactive processes and they can’t fix faulty requirements or bad design. These need to be supplimented with a ‘culture’ of Quality for everyone in the team.

#5 Anand Nandargi

great post…. understand lots of things ..

#6 Runningman

Great explanation! Bravo! I have to make my friends read this.

#7 Ashwini

Yes i think QA removes the need for QC, as QA itself ensures that processes, startegies are all defined.When they are already defined ,QC acts like a kind of checklist to see whether whether the defined standards,policies are all followed.When everything is defined during QA then i do not think to QC is needed.

#8 Sowmya

QC is required even if QA is present in an active and highly effective way.. The QC is to ensure that whatever have been promised and proposed in the plans and strategies are implemented and adhered.
QC is acting on the actual end product/deliverable which needs to be certified by the Quality control people and not QA people..
QA assurance people are the ones who have provided the supporting documents and strategies to be delivered at the end. They also approve and certify the QC related documents (test reports ,test plans etc.) which counts for the quality product being delivered..

#9 Gurumurthy G S

Good and Brief introduction was explained very well. thank you..:-)

#10 kishore

Such articles are good to enhance knowledge on QA and QC. But, it is not possible Infact, what one can do is to have a team blend of QA and QC. Instead of having separate team hire a person or train your resources in such a way that he/she performs both the task simultaneously.
But in noways QA can surpass QC . We need to have separate QC to prepare test artifacts which is just not possible for QA.

#11 Thiyagarajan Veluchamy

Many Thanks, Well and good explanation.

#12 Ibx

QA outlines how its to be done. QC ensures its done exactly that way :)

#13 Manasi

Simple gud example. Another example to ellaborate more on this :
Qa is preventive measure,eg.Vaccinations given to small kids to protect in future, so that viruses do not harm them.This is usually done in requirements phase.

Qc is after you fall ill,go to doctor for curing the illness.This is testing phase done after software is deployed in QA environment. :)

#14 Ajay kumar

QA measure the quality of process which is used to create a quality product..
and QC measure the quality of product

#15 Meenal Balajiwale

Thanks all!

@ Ashwini … aggree that if QA is done well then ideally QC should not be required but it never happens :)
To make sure that what QA is defined is correct or not…we need to perform QC

@ Manasi…very realistic and accurate example :)
…I will give this example to others if they come to me asking for difference b/w QA and QC

#16 babu

suugests any good institues or websites to learn qtp..can anyone teach me qtp..am currently working in a manual testing for IT industry

#17 Tal.E

good explanation, thought Ibx (comment #12) put it well in one sentence :)

#18 GEETHA

One more point which I would like to add is having a strong QA is a testimony of a mature organisation. Also it requires management support as most of the organisations view it as a waste of time and hence cough up hefty failure costs later. Better safe than be sorry :)

#19 Meenal Balajiwale

Yes…many organizations have that perception. But we as ‘QA people’ need to come forward and not only convince but show some realistic figures to them that fixing an issue is definitely costlier than preventing an issue :)

#20 suhair

In many companies testing team is known as QA team. Testing is checking products requirement and specification. But actually QA is process oriented not the product

#21 Ramesh

QA will define the processes, policies etc but it is not sure that all that processess and policies are followed during the coding. To check this we need to bring in QC as well.

#22 p g mathew

It seems there is a confusion between QC and Inspection/Testing. Inspection/Testing is an activity to ensure that the product of a process whether it is software or hardare meets its specifications. Quality Control is all such inspections and monitoring at different stages including analysis of customer feedback and design review. QA contains one more activity which is Quality Audit which verifies whether the QC activities are properly conducted and if not, recommend rectifications.Therefore QC is a subset of QA and Inspection is a subset of QC.

#23 june

QA does not assure quality, and QC does not control quality. It’s unnecessary station.

#24 Kapil

Not at all.
QA and QC both are totally different things.
QA People decides / defines the quality of the s/w product being developed / to be developed.
QC People are there to verify whether the quality standards defined by QA People are being obeyed or not.

#25 test

checking the blog

#26 sandeep shitole

Quality Assurance: A set of activities designed to ensure that the development and/or maintenance process is adequate to ensure a system will meet its objectives.
Quality Control: A set of activities designed to evaluate a developed work product.
Testing: The process of executing a system with the intent of finding defects. (Note that the “process of executing a system” includes test planning prior to the execution of the test cases.)

#27 sandeep shitole

Quality Control is a system of routine technical activites,
to measure and control the quality of the inventory as it
is being developed.

Quality Control includes general methods such as accuracy
checks on data acquisition and calculation and the use of
approved standardised procedure for emission calculations,
measurements, estimating uncertainites, archiving
informations and reporting.

Quality Assurance: Includes a planned system of review
procedures conducted by personal not directly involved in
the development process preferably by third parties should
be performed upon the finalized inventory after the
implementation of QC Process

#28 Deo Ram Yadav

It’s awesome. But you told that QC does not control quality, rather it measures quality. I don’t agree fully to this point. QC measures quality as well as it controls quality too. if something is going in undesired way, QC tracks the thing and let programmers know what is this and where it is and then programmers fix the thing. It corrects the implementation. So doesn’t it control the quality? Of course, it does.

#29 nivedita

@mansi: thnx fr gvng a simple and easy example.

#30 Meenal

thanks all :)
I have posted 1 more article…please have a look… :)

http://www.softwaretestinghelp.com/achieve-level-5-maturity-for-qa-testing-process/

#31 kumaraswamy

Hi,

I you discussed about QA & QC, any way its nice post, expecting some more examples to understanding purpose

#32 narapareddy

thanks sowmya

#33 Abodeqa

Thank you Sowmya. for writing such a nice post to differentiate QA and QC.

#34 vijay

all are fake

#35 Ramya Sree

i would like to add one more point.
QA is verification of the process.
QC is validation of the process.

#36 Shruthi

Thank you so much. neatly explained. I faced this question in interview. Please also answer these questions

Give real time example of QA and QC
Is QA and QC team are same or different.

Thanks in advance

#37 Larry Wells

That was the well described article on the differences between quality assurance and quality control. That was the valuable information. Thanks!

#38 Meenal Balajiwale

Thanks every one!

#39 Meenal Balajiwale

Hi All,

Thanks for your comments, you all motivate me to write more and one more article of mine has been published. Please take a look at it:

http://www.softwaretestinghelp.com/myths-about-being-software-tester/

Your suggestions are warmly welcome.

Thanks & Regards,
Meenal Balajiwale

#40 QA Mentor

Nice summary of all the key points. But I would also add that QC at the end of all things is deeply rooted in customer orientation, while it is of course plays great part in most of the QA processes, quality control has it as a primary focus.

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