What You Need To Know About Software Quality Assurance7 min read
Software Quality Assurance (SQA) is an important part of successful software development. In addition to meeting general project requirements, your development team must meet certain technical quality standards that the software development industry relies on.
Ensuring these standards are comfortably but rigorously met is what requires software quality assurance. A well-thought-out and developed quality assurance system helps companies increase their reputation while improving workflow efficiency and enhancing customer confidence in their products. It also provides a competitive edge against the competitors in the market. This practice originated in the manufacturing industry, but is now unknown to the actual market or industry limitation and has become a common practice worldwide.
The International Organization for Standardization (or ISO) is the driving force behind quality assurance processes and procedures in the world of software development. QA software is often combined with the international standard ISO 9000 used by companies to ensure that their implemented quality assurance system is as effective as possible.
Of course, the specifics of software quality assurance are a bit more complicated. But you can keep reading to learn more about how your business can benefit from software quality assurance and, quite frankly, why your business needs it as part of the project.
What is Software Quality Assurance?
Software Quality Assurance is a method of checking whether software development projects adhere to a predefined set of standards. In other words, SQA is a process that ensures that all software engineering processes, methods, activities, and work items are monitored and adhered to according to defined standards. These defined standards can be one or a combination of any standard like ISO 9000, CMMI model, TMM, etc.
SQA combines all software development processes starting from defining requirements to coding through to release. It is a process focused on defining and maintaining the requirements set forth to develop reliable products. Companies often hire third-party QA service providers to do this during software development. Its primary goal is to ensure that the final product meets the requirements and expectations of its customers.
Industry experts work throughout the development process and the overall software development lifecycle. This allows them to create a proactive process focused on defect detection, necessary repairs, and prevention for the future to help continuously improve software development.
Why Is Software Quality Assurance Important?
Software quality assurance is a reliable means of producing high-quality software. Not only for the benefit of consumers but also for the benefit of the software product itself, it is crucial for businesses to use a reliable SQA process to establish a baseline of expectations for the product. Let's look at other reasons why improving software quality is of paramount importance:
- First, a high-quality software product will save you time and money. As a business, providing merchandise worth buying is one of the primary goals. If you're building software, software quality assurance can confirm that a good product or your software is worth buying, contributing to increased sales and profits for your business.
- Second, delivering a high-quality product means less maintenance over time as your software product will be resilient from the start. As a result, you can spend the least amount of time and money on maintenance, should the product need maintenance in the future.
Overall, software quality assurance remains a key factor in scaling your business and maintaining a good reputation for your brand.
SQA is considered important to your business because the scope of your Software Quality Assurance Plan (SQAP) documents the procedures, techniques, and tools your business uses to enforce quality assurance. Software quality assurance plans come in different formats, but in most cases, you can find the following:
5. Standards, Practices, Conventions and Indicators
6. Evaluate & Test
SQAP is an essential step in overall software quality assurance. Documentation of this type prevents rework or renegotiation of any of the processes or roles defined in the software quality assurance plan. Designing your software quality assurance plan is just as important as developing your software product. Similar to SQA, SQAP allows your business to deliver high-quality products.
ISO 9000 – one of the most popular Software Quality Assurance Standards
While software quality assurance may seem vague on the surface, there are some different guidelines for SQA that are recognized in the industry. It's like a scientific process. There are a number of certifications available in the industry to ensure that Organizations follow Standard Quality Procedures. The customer considers this as an eligibility criterion while selecting a software supplier.
ISO 9000 defines a family of standards, with ISO 9000 and ISO 9001 being the standards in the family. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) first published the ISO 9000 family in 1987(1).
For ISO 9000, several principles have a significant focus on a software product's ability to meet customer needs. The principles of ISO 9000 are as follows:
- Customer focus
- Engagement of people
- Process approach
- Evidence-based decisions making
- Relationship manager
Currently, ISO 9000 is one of the more widely used criteria for quality management systems (QMS). More than one million businesses and organizations around the world in 165 countries have been certified to ISO 9001.
Aren't Quality Assurance and Testing the Same Thing?
While many people use quality assurance and testing as interchangeable terms in the software development world, they are actually different processes. While both aim to provide software that not only meets quality standards but also conforms to required requirements, they are not exactly the same.
The process of exploring a system in order to find defects
Activities designed to ensure the software corresponds to spec
System inspection and bug finding
Quality control and meeting the requirements
Product – oriented
Process – oriented
To control the quality
To assure the quality
Software testing focuses on finding bugs, defects, and bugs in the software. Testers focus on applying rigorous testing processes to the software to determine if any aspects need fixing before releasing it to customers or the public. Testers are also only responsible for identifying problems, not fixing them. Software testing is part of the overall quality control process, but its focus is entirely on product-oriented tasks rather than the big picture.
While the idea behind quality assurance processes is to ensure that the overall quality of the product meets customer requirements and expectations,. QA professionals and QA outsourcing companies work on the development and implementation of the processes themselves. This helps teams follow all the required Software Development Lifecycle processes. Instead of approaching problems proactively after identification, QA focuses on continuous improvement to proactively prevent these problems from happening in the first place.
How to do Quality Assurance?
Quality Assurance methodology has a defined cycle called the PDCA cycle or Deming cycle. They are repeated to ensure that processes are in full compliance with the organization's assessments and should be periodically improved. The phases of this cycle are:
- Plan – The organization should plan and establish process-related objectives and identify the processes needed to deliver a high-quality product.
- Do – Develop and test Processes and also “implement” process changes
- Check – Monitor the processes, modify the processes and check that it meets the predefined objectives or not? Continue refining the revision until the goal is met.
- Act – Quality Assurance testers should take the necessary actions to achieve process improvements.
An organization must use Quality Assurance to ensure that products are designed and implemented with correct processes. This helps to reduce problems and errors in the final product.
Why do you Need a Software QA Consultant in Software Development?
Software quality assurance is a must for any business that uses software development, whether it's day-to-day operations or a consumer product. There are many sub-topics affecting software quality assurance, including standards such as ISO 9000 and CMMI; different SQA approaches such as defect management and versus attribute approach; and of course, the importance of a software quality assurance plan. Everything you've learned will help you align well when implementing software quality assurance for your business.
Some companies choose to only test for defects and not implement a quality assurance process for development projects. It was a big mistake. Quality assurance is an essential element of the software development process, mainly because it ensures that the final product will be of the highest quality. There are other notable benefits to adopting QA, including enhancing the company's reputation and credibility as well as increasing customer confidence in the company's products. In addition, businesses can improve overall workflow efficiency and gain a competitive advantage. More importantly, delivering a near-perfect product is almost impossible without an experienced QA team and strong QA practices.
At Groove Technology, we provide top-rated software QA and software development consulting as well as an independent department of quality assurance engineers. These experts help to successfully ensure that all delivered products meet the highest quality standards in the market with best practices and the most robust technology to provide quality results.
Do you have more questions about software quality assurance or even need a software development team of your own to start your next project? Contact us to learn more.