The term “quality assurance” and “testing” are terms that are mainly associated with the software development process. The terms are closely related, and often their meanings overlap one another. As a result, stakeholders are often heard using them interchangeably. But, as far as the technicality of both terms is concerned, they are not synonymous.
Quality Assurance vs Testing
The difference between quality assurance and testing is that quality assurance is an overall software development life cycle process while testing is merely a subset of it. Quality assurance is a much wider concept. It involves a huge number of stakeholders, some of whom are a part of testing. Testing is only concerned with the quality of coding, henceforth limited to a technical genre.
Quality Assurance is an important step of software development as it is the procedure to innovate, analyze, remove and add features that improve the overall quality of the product before it reaches the target customer. It mostly concerns quality management, invariably fulfilling quality requirements. The complete process of quality assurance goes through measurements, standard comparison, acute monitoring, feedback, implementations, and the final stage of quality control that involves testing.
Testing or better-called quality testing is the final stage of ensuring proper implementation of all the trial and error during quality assurance. It ensures the highest possible product devoid of any sort of defects for the target customer. In agile industries, quality testing also ensures user-friendly specifications. It ensures validation of the product.
Comparison Table Between Quality Assurance and Testing
|Parameters of Comparison||Quality Assurance||Quality Testing|
|Definition||Quality Assurance can be defined as a procedure to prevent mistakes and defects in manufactured products.||Quality testing can be defined as a final stage of quality assurance that checks all developments made throughout the process.|
|Way of operation||Quality Assurance ensures strict adherence and smooth work to attain the desired quality of the product.||Quality Testing ensures validation of the product against user-friendly specifications.|
|Aim||It aims at making innovation through trial and error to bring out the highest quality possible.||It aims at discovering errors and fixing them before it reaches the final customer.|
|Orientation||It aims at making innovation through trial and error to bring out the highest quality possible.||It aims at discovering errors and fixing them before it reaches the final customer.|
|Subset||It is a subset of the software development life-cycle.||It is the subset of the stage of quality control i.e. a subset of quality assurance.|
What is Quality Assurance?
Quality assurance is a wide topic of software development lifecycle that not only ensures the quality of the end product but also ensures the processes through which the end product is derived.
It is a proactive process that prevents defects in the process of software development. It involves a whole team of stakeholders, analysts, strategists, developers, and testers to ensure specification in every aspect. Though it is a lengthy process, it makes sure that the end product going for quality testing is quality specific as well as developed in terms of unification.
The task is usually supervised by a team of quality analysts for proper adherence to the process. The quality analysts’ prime job is to prepare a quality assurance strategy. A quality assurance strategy defines the approach and nature of development to take place through the quality assurance program. The analysts strategize the whole process in steps that usually include the following-
- Stakeholder engagement and financial reporting.
- Training requirements of the team for optimum performance.
- Adoption of a methodology.
- Document management.
- Engaging non-functional requirements.
- Service architecture to support service orientation.
- Adoption of testing strategy.
- Confirming designing standards.
- Applying coding standards, checking and rechecking them.
In this way, the whole process of quality assurance is carried on. Thereafter, the software development life cycle moves to the next stage, i.e. quality control. Quality testing is a subset of quality control.
What is Quality Testing?
Quality control is the process that examines the quality of the end product. It mainly focuses on validating the end product according to the specifications and requirements as desired by the target customer. Quality control usually includes activities like demonstrations, testing, inspection, and review in a loop until approved by the supervisor.
Quality testing is the most integral phase of quality control. It is here that the defects are identified, and suitable replacements are made. The testing techniques differ from product to product but mostly revolve around functional, non-functional, and acceptance testing to detect software bugs. Besides detecting the bugs, quality testing also aims at fixing them so that a product of quality reaches the end customer.
A strategist plans the steps of quality testing, which are most likely to include the following-
Proper planning of the test.
Strict execution of the test.
Analysis of the test.
Identification of the defects.
Fixing the defects.
Thus, this loop of identifying the defects and fixing them continues until and unless the product is devoid of any further defects. After the product is made ready according to the recommendations of the target customer, a test report is prepared. It is only then that the product is sent to the customer.
Main Differences Between Quality Assurance and Testing
- The prime difference between quality assurance and quality testing is in the area they cover. Quality assurance is a much greater concept than quality testing. Quality assurance is a subset of the software development life cycle, whereas quality testing is a subset of quality control which in turn is a subset of quality assurance.
- Quality assurance is wholly a process-oriented procedure, while quality testing is purely product-oriented in nature.
- Thus, because of the nature of work, quality assurance can be called a proactive process. However, quality testing is undoubtedly reactive in nature.
- Starting from stakeholders to testers, on the one hand, quality assurance requires the whole team, whereas, on the other hand, quality testing requires only the testers.
- By process of quality assurance, defects are prevented, whereas the process of quality testing finds and fixes the defects.
As shown above, in technical terms, quality assurance and quality testing are not synonymous. However, they have a common goal, i.e. to improve the quality of the end product through various steps of measurements, standard comparison, acute monitoring, testing, feedback, and implementations, before the final delivery of a quality product.
Although they go hand in hand to reach their ultimate goal, They adopt different methodologies and techniques to serve it. The tasks of quality assurance and quality testing are completely different from one another, and thus, using them synonymously might be confusing. It can be damaging for the people who know the sheer difference between the two.