Quality Assurance Vs Quality Control – Explained

Quality Assurance Vs Quality Control

This article explains the terms Quality Assurance and Quality Control in detail with their tabular difference. Also, get answers to FAQs related to them.

Quality Assurance and Quality Control are two terms that are often used interchangeably. People, even technical experts, sometimes get confused between the two words because of the visible similarities between these two terms. But there are apparent distinct differences between the two concepts. In this blog, we will explore the difference between Quality Control and Quality Assurance. Hence, it is essential to understand what is quality, assurance, control, quality assurance, and Quality Control.

Basic Terms

QualityQuality

Quality is meeting the requirements, expectations, and needs of the customer by delivering the desired product, program, or service. The manufacturer or the programmer should also ensure that the product, program, or service being provided to the customer is free from any defect and substantial variant. To satisfy the demands made by the customer, one has to follow specific standards in the process.

AssuranceAssurance

The organization management, which is involved with the manufacturing or programming of a particular product, gives ‘assurance’ to the customer regarding certain quality. The organization provides a positive declaration, gives confidence on a product, and its desired outcome. It provides a sense of security to the customer as well as, in some cases, the stakeholders and the management members that the product will work without any issues as per the expectations or requests.

ControlControl

Control is testing on verifying the actual results of a particular product or service by comparing it with the defined all the required standards made by the customer or the stakeholders.

Quality Assurance

The International Organization for Standardization in ISO 9000 defines Quality Assurance as “a part of quality management focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled.

Quality Assurance is generally known as QA, and it focuses on preventing any defect in the product or services or program being developed.  Quality Assurance is proactive in nature, which means that it is concerned with avoiding any kind of error which can arise. It is not concerned with solving the problem after the product has been sold. The flaws in the process of development are recognized during Quality Assurance, and it is done before the Quality Control. Quality Assurance generally includes two principles.

  • Fit For Purpose: the products should be suitable for the intended purpose.
  • Right First Time: mistakes should be eliminated

Typically, Quality Assurance provides management of the quality of assemblies, and products are components as well as the raw materials. They are inspected thoroughly before putting it to use.

Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance in Practice

Quality Assurance is practiced in various industries, and the method is quite different in all.

Medical industry: Quality Assurance is essential in the medical field because it helps to check the quality standards of various medical equipment and their services. Hospitals, laboratories, and concerned organizations check the quality of materials like diagnostic radiology and x-ray machines before using them. Throughout the development and introduction of new medicines and medical devices, Quality Assurance plays a significant role.

Aerospace industry: In the Aerospace Industry, the term product assurance (PA) is often used instead of using the term quality assurance. Product assurance, alongside project management and engineering, is one of the three primary project functions in the industry. Quality Assurance is nearly seen as one of the parts of product assurance. Product assurance plays a crucial role in this industry because, generally, even a single failure can be very catastrophic. It can claim human life and causing collateral damage to the environment and a mission. Due to this, product assurance is allotted a significant amount of budget for the industry.

Software development: Software Quality Assurance refers to carefully monitoring the software engineering processes involved in the production of particular software. The term software testing plays a crucial role here. Software testing is an investigation that is conducted to provide stakeholders and the management team with the information regarding the quality of the software product or services which is under test.

The software testing generally involves the execution of a software component or system component to investigate one or more properties of interest.

Quality Control

Quality Control (QC) is a process by which the investigation team reviews the quality of all the factors involved in the production. The International Organization for Standardization, ISO 9000 defines Quality Control as “a part of quality management focused on fulfilling quality requirements. Quality Control, inspection is a significant component, and here, physical product is examined visually, or in case of a service, the end results are analyzed.” Here, the product inspectors are generally provided with lists and descriptions of unacceptable product defects such as cracks or surface blemishes, for example. The quality of the outputs is a term to be at rest if any of these three aspects is faulty in any manner.

Quality Control

The main focus of Quality Control is always on identifying a defect. Inspectors also have a role in ensuring that the approaches, techniques, processes, and methods are design in the project and are being followed correctly. It is generally e completed after quality assurance. In software engineering, Quality Control is used to ensure the quality of a product or a service. It is not concerned with the process is used to develop the product; instead, it just examines the quality of the final products and the outcome.

Difference between Quality Assurance and Quality Control

Quality Assurance (QA) Quality Control (QC)
It is a method that focuses on providing assurance that quality asked will be provided It is a method that focuses on fulfilling the quality requested.
QA aims to avoid the defect QC aims to recognize and fix defects
It is a technique to manage the quality- Verification It is a technique to verify the quality-Validation
It does not involve implementing the program It always involves implementing a program
It’s a Preventive measure It’s a Corrective measure
It’s a Proactive technique It’s a Reactive technique
It is the process to create the deliverables It is the process to verify that deliverables
Quality Assurance is involved in the full software development life cycle Quality Control is involved in the full software testing life cycle
To meet the customer necessities, QA defines standards and methodologies QC verifies if the standards are followed while working on the product
It is done and concluded before Quality Control is started It commences its work only after Quality Assurance  activity is done
It is a Low-Level Activity, which can identify an error and mistakes which QC cannot It is a High-Level Activity, which can identify an error that QA cannot
Its main intention is to avoid defects in the system. It is comparatively a less time-consuming activity Its main intention is to identify defects or bugs in the system. It is comparatively a more time-consuming activity
Quality Assurance makes sure that everything is executed accurately, and that is why it falls under confirmation activity Quality Control ensures that whatever the management or the developer team  has done is as per the prerequisite conditions set by the stakeholders, customers or the management board, and that is why it falls under legalization activity
It needs the involvement of the whole team. Everyone is responsible for Quality Assurance of the product or the service being provided It needs the involvement only of the Testing team or the inspecting team. This team is specialized for testing the quality of the product/service.
The statistical technique applied to Quality Assurance is called SPC or Statistical Process Control (SPC). It eventually becomes a part of Quality Assurance. The statistical technique applied to Quality Control is called SQC or Statistical Quality Control. It eventually becomes a part of Quality Control.
Quality Assurance is process-oriented Quality Control is product-oriented
Quality Assurance is considered a ‘managerial tool.’ Quality Control is considered to be a corrective tool.
The main job of Quality Assurance is to prevent some quality problems through planned and systematic processes, including legalization or documentation. The main job of Quality Control is to achieve and maintain the product quality, process, and service, as expected by the user or the stakeholder.

Does Quality Assurance eliminate the need for Quality Control

One of the first questions arising from the difference between Quality Assurance and Quality Control is, “If Quality Assurance is done before Quality Control, then what is the need to perform Quality Control?”

This question sometimes is valid and should be asked. When all the pre-defined processes, policies, and standards are correctly and wholly followed, then what is the need to perform a round of Quality Control? Everyone has a different opinion, but in my opinion, Quality Control is just a subset of Quality Assurance. While doing Quality Assurance, the management team of the team of developers defines the various processes involved in the development, the policies, and its strategies. The developer’s team also tries established standards, develop a checklist orchestra, which is needed to be used and implemented throughout the life cycle of a particular project.

And while doing the Quality Control, the developer’s team follows all the defined standards, policies, processes, which is determined by Quality Assurance to make sure that the project is running smoothly, will deliver high quality, and the outcome of the project will meet the requirement of customers expectation.

Quality Control Is Just A Subset Of Quality Assurance

It is safe to say that Quality Control looks at the end of the line while Quality Assurance looks for the down the line. Quality Control is generally concerned with detecting and correcting the issues while Quality Assurance aims at preventing the problems from occurring. Quality Assurance is not concerned with steering quality; instead, it makes sure that the processes are followed to assure the quality. Whereas Quality Control does not control condition, it measures the quality of the product. The results from the Quality Control measurements can be used to correct or modify the Quality Assurance processes which can be successfully executed in new projects too.

Quality Assurance and Quality Control are further a subset of Quality Management, and both of them play an integral role in managing the quality of a product or service. These powerful techniques are generally used to ensure that the products or systems are of high quality, and they meet the expectations of the customers.

Conclusion

Quality Assurance and Quality Control both are very different from each other. Both of them play an integral role in managing the quality of a product, service as demanded by the customer; stakeholders are the management team. One should avoid misunderstanding Quality Assurance and Quality Control as interchangeable terms. Quality Assurance is generally e focused on the ongoing process, whereas Quality Control is focused on the end product.

The Quality Control team or the inspection team generally inspect whether something like a product or service is operating correctly. If the product or service is not working correctly, then the issue needs to be fixed or eliminated to meet the required standards set by the customer. So the Quality Control team AIMS at detecting and correcting the issues. On the other hand, Quality Assurance is focused on preventing the problems from occurring in the future by improving the process.

These statements also prove that Quality Assurance does not eliminate the requirement of the Quality Control and Quality Control team and that the Quality Control team is also one of the essential parts in quality management.

I hope you find this guide useful. If so, do share it with others who are excited to explore this topic and other topics that we publish here on our blog. If you have any questions related to this article, feel free to ask us in the comments section.

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