What is Quality Assurance? Our guide for your software team

For any software team, the need to ensure quality within a software project is usually an ongoing priority that commands serious attention. In order to make sure the Quality Assurance process that your team has designed and put in use is as effective as possible, it’s important for your team to start your analysis with a clear answer to the foundational question: what is Quality Assurance?

What is Quality Assurance?

So, what’s the best way to answer the question of what is Quality Assurance? Quality assurance in software is the methodology of ensuring that software development projects adhere to a predefined set of standards with the aim of improving or maintaining some level of quality.

In the context of software projects, Quality Assurance is also often labelled Software Quality Assurance and abbreviated as SQA.

Oftentimes, the term Quality Assurance in software projects is used in ways that heavily imply software testing and monitoring to reduce and address problems with the software product, but the concept is actually much broader and covers everything with the software development process from start to finish and when in the hands of users, including the release management process, configurations within the software, source code controls, and other comprehensive aspects of software development.

Why is Quality Assurance important?

As with any product or system, software relies on Quality Assurance to ensure that end users and customers get the results they need from the software.

Without a strong Quality Assurance program, a number of problems can appear within a project, going well beyond just the code.

Examples of the benefits that Quality Assurance aims to provide include:

  • Effectively finding and fixing defects within the software project code

  • Better user and customer experience

  • Creating more efficient processes

  • Constraining the impact that problems can have across a software project

  • Reduce costs related to fixing problems

  • Improve scalability of the software project and software development process

  • Reduction in customer support costs

Common approaches to Software Quality Assurance

There are several approaches to software quality assurance that teams can use.

For example, a common approach to software quality assurance is the quality attributes approach, which focuses on several predefined areas of quality. Examples of some core attributes that are often the focus of the quality attributes approach include:

  • Functionality

  • Reliability

  • Usability

  • Efficiency

  • Maintainability

  • Portability

Other approaches include the defect management approach, which focuses on identifying and managing issues related to the software project.

Software quality assurance is also often described as being comprised of several core elements, such as:

  • Software development standards

  • Software testing for quality control

  • Error collection and analysis

  • Reviews and audits

  • Change management

  • Security management

  • Risk management

  • Educational management

  • Vendor management

Finally, some teams choose to adhere to specific standards that have been defined for Software Quality Assurance, although not all teams do. Some common standards that teams consider using are:

  • ISO 9000 (ISO 9001:2015)

  • Capability Maturity Model Integrated (CMMI)

  • Testing Maturity Model (TMM) or Testing Maturity Model integration (TMMi)

Standards also can include a certification process which some teams decide to pursue.

Software quality assurance techniques

When it comes to actual implementation, there are several techniques that can be used for software quality assurance programs. These specific techniques can include:

  • Functional testing

  • Test automation

  • Path testing

  • Stress testing

  • Code inspection

  • Design inspection

  • Simulation

  • Standardization

  • Static analysis

  • Walkthroughs

Quality assurance and QA testing automation

Quality assurance and testing are not quite the same thing. Software quality assurance typically refers to the overall processes and procedures involved with ensuring the quality of a software product, whereas software testing are more specific activities related to inspecting the software itself directly, to find and fix specific problems that are uncovered through testing.

That said, one of the most important aspects of a comprehensive software quality assurance program is the process of QA testing automation. Teams have long realized that QA testing automation should be a key part of any successful software quality assurance program, and maximizing the automation of the testing process is crucially important for improved software quality, efficiency, and ultimately successfully meeting customer needs.

With a growing emphasis on QA testing automation within quality assurance, our group of experts at testRigor is helping software teams maximize their potential in this area by using cutting-edge products and services like AI-driven test automation, user behavior-driven test creation, and automated conversion of plain English feedback into functional tests. We’re seeing huge growth in this area of software QA, so your team should be sure to include QA testing automation as a key part of your overall software quality assurance processes.