Achieving Excellence Through Quality Assurance
In this day and age, when customers' expectations are getting higher and higher, companies in all fields have to develop strategic plans in order to gain a competitive advantage over their competitors.
It goes without saying that quality is the best way of obtaining this competitive advantage.
Contrary to common belief, quality does not refer solely to the characteristics of the end product or service, but also to the process that leads to the respective product or service.
Thus, Quality Assurance is no trivial matter and a quality-oriented business activity is fundamental for the ascension of any enterprise.
Not only does the staff need to be educated in the quality ethos, but managers also have to invest considerable resources in developing and implementing quality systems that are aligned with the plans and profile of the company.
Here are several essential and interesting facts about quality assurance, how it helps enterprises and how it can be implemented in a streamlined manner.
A simplified technical overview
By definition, quality assurance, or simply QA, represents the systematic activities pertaining to a quality system, aimed at fulfilling the necessary requirements of a product and/or service.
QA is always centered on processes and has the secondary objective of increasing confidence in the solutions that a company has to offer.
In fact, this confidence and process-centered approach constitutes the primary difference between QA and quality control.
These two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, especially by non-specialized users, but they should never be confused. While quality control refers to the end product itself, QA refers more to the planning, design and development phases. They are both part of a larger and more complex process called quality management.
What actions does QA consist of?
Although it is up to each and every company to apply a strategy that matches their field of experience, size and goals, QA generally requires several fixed steps.
Ideally, QA should be the concern of a separate department, who should break the process in several smaller tasks, including goal setting, testing, integration and problem fixing.
While the methods used to assure quality may vary from manual to automated, the processes tend to be the same.
It all starts with reviewing relevant documentation, continues with Basic Acceptance Testing, moves on to in-depth testing and ends with filing accurate reports and solving them.
Needless to say, communication between departments and communication between engineers is a hallmark of proficient and proactive quality assurance.
Implementing quality systems
After managers understand what QA is and why it matters at an organizational level, they want to know how to properly implement it.
More specifically, they are looking for the how-to, the streamlined system that can provide consistency and excellence.
This can be achieved through the implementation of a well-thought, strategic quality assurance system.
Going the extra mile to develop a set of procedures takes time, but it pays off.
There are different ways in which a QA system can be implemented and they can vary from training employees based on certain quality standards to developing a complex guideline system
that developers can refer to whenever they have to test a product.
Naturally, when they have a resource that they can refer to, this leads to consistency and brings a company one step closer to achieving that goal we talked about at the beginning of the article.
Of course, QA and all the processes pertaining to it are subject to constant change and evolution, especially in terms of the tools used.
For example you have test case management
the bug tracking system
and the ALM
The success size of a company is started by the quality of their tools.
The biggest trend now seems to be the slow transition from manual to automated solutions, without one having to exclude the other.
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