What You Need to Know About Software Quality Assurance

The Key to High-Quality Software

Quality assurance and testing are what make or break a business. No matter the type of company, the business vertical, or its services or products, every organization has to use some form of quality assurance and testing to ensure that they are offering safe, useful, and quality goods to the world. This is especially true in the world of software development. 

The only real way to guarantee that a company releases reliable, high-quality software products is through thorough quality assurance during the development process. 

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What is Quality Assurance Exactly?

Quality assurance is a process that focuses on identifying and maintaining set requirements for the development of reliable products. Companies frequently hire third-party QA outsourcing providers to accomplish this during software development. 

A well-developed and thought out quality assurance system helps companies increase their credibility while also improving workflow efficiency, and boosting customers’ confidence in products. It also provides a competitive advantage against market competitors. This practice has roots in the manufacturing industry, but now knows no real market or industry bounds and has become a common practice across the board. 

The International Organization of Standardization (or ISO) is the driving force behind quality assurance processes and procedures within the software development world. Software QA is commonly paired with the ISO 9000 international standard used by companies to make sure that their implemented quality assurance system is as effective as possible.

The goal of all quality assurance processes is to ensure that the final product meets the clients’ expectations and requirements. Professionals within the sector work throughout the development process and overall Software Development Life Cycle. This allows them to create a proactive process that places an emphasis on the detection of defects, necessary rectifications, and prevention for the future to help continuously improve software development.

Aren’t Quality Assurance and Testing the Same Thing?

While many people use quality assurance and testing as interchangeable terms in the world of software development, they’re actually different processes. Although they both aim to provide software that not only meets quality standards but also matches necessary requirements, they aren’t exactly the same. 

Software testing concentrates on finding the bugs, defects, and errors within the software. Testers focus on applying rigorous testing processes to the software to determine if any aspects need fixing before release to the client or public. Testers are also only responsible for identifying the problems, not fixing them. Software testing is a part of the general quality control process, but its focus is exclusively on product-oriented tasks rather than the big picture. 

The idea behind quality control processes is to assure that the overall quality of the product at hand meets the requirements and expectations of the client. QA professionals and software QA outsourcing companies work within the development process itself and the implementation of processes. This helps teams follow all required procedures of the Software Development Life Cycle. Instead of reactively approaching problems after identification, QA focuses on continuous improvement to proactively prevent these issues from ever happening in the first place. 

How is Quality Determined by Quality Assurance Teams?

There are two main approaches when it comes to quality assurance: the quality attributes approach and the defect management approach. 

Defect management helps track defects and uses defining categories to rank the severity of said defects. Quality assurance professionals create charts for control to measure the development team’s capabilities. A “defect” is any element within the software that isn’t aligned with the customer’s requirements. It’s not uncommon for developers to misunderstand or fail to understand the requirements fully, so errors naturally arise throughout development. Other common problems include non-proper logic, bad data handling, and generally buggy code. 

Quality assurance in the quality attributes approach focuses on six main characteristics to determine the quality of a product:

  • Reliability – QA professionals determine how the software performs under specific conditions to see how often it fails. They also figure out how quickly the system can reach its full operational level post-fail.

  • Functionality – QA teams test the software’s functions to see if they’re appropriate and that their implementation is correct. The QA professionals also test the interaction between the software test subject and other system components to see how they perform. Assessment of data security and compliance with mandatory guidelines and rules is required as well.

  • Efficiency – The quality assurance team is responsible for determining if the development team followed good coding practices while developing software products. Efficiency should always be considered when designing software architecture.

  • Usability – It’s important that users understand the product’s functions as easily as possible. If understanding the software takes too much effort or isn’t possible, it isn’t going to pass QA.

  • Portability – Every piece of software must have the ability to adapt to changes in its environment. It should offer easy installation and replacement of system components within a specific environment as well. 

  • Maintainability – QA teams assess how easy it is to identify and fix a problem within the program as well as the main cause of failure. They take a look at how difficult code modification would be in the event of a fault and the stability of the system performance during the application of these changes. 

Quality Assurance Is a Must-Have Part of Software Development

Some companies choose to only test for defects and don’t implement a quality assurance process for development projects and that’s a huge mistake. Quality assurance is a key element of the software development process and offers many benefits. 

This extra effort helps not only boost company reputation and credibility, but it also helps build customer trust and confidence in its products. Internally, businesses benefit by improving their overall workflow efficiency and gaining a competitive advantage. Providing an almost flawless product is simply impossible without an experienced quality assurance team and robust QA practices in place.

At BairesDev, we offer top-ranked software development as an outsourcing provider and also offer an independent division of quality assurance engineers. These professionals help successfully assure that all deliverables meet the highest quality standards on the market with the best practices and most powerful technologies to guarantee the highest quality results. Contact us to learn more.

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