Quality Assurance (QA) is a systematic process used in various industries to ensure that products and services meet specified requirements and are reliable, functional, and safe. QA involves planned and systematic activities implemented within the quality system to provide confidence that a product or service will fulfill the defined quality requirements.
In the context of software development, QA involves various practices:
- Requirements Analysis: QA teams verify the requirements to make sure they are precise, complete, and unambiguous.
- Design Review: The design of the software is reviewed to ensure it is logical, robust, and likely to produce a high-quality outcome.
- Code Review: The source code is analyzed to check for errors, vulnerabilities, and adherence to coding standards.
- Testing: Various types of testing are performed, such as functional testing, integration testing, system testing, and user acceptance testing. This could also involve automated testing.
- Process Check and Audit: The entire development process is checked regularly to ensure it adheres to the prescribed quality standards.
- Performance Monitoring: The performance of the software is monitored to ensure it meets the necessary performance criteria.
Quality Assurance is a proactive process, and it focuses on preventing defects rather than finding and fixing them. This makes it different from Quality Control (QC), which is a reactive process where the product is inspected and tested for defects after it has been developed.
By ensuring quality from the beginning of the development process, QA helps to prevent defects, reduce rework and associated costs, and increase customer satisfaction.