Software Quality Assurance And Testing Services
When you buy a pear, you can instantly evaluate its quality: the size and shape, ripeness, the absence of visible bruising. But only as you take the first bite, will you be able to see if the pear is really that good. Even an extremely good-looking pear might taste sour or have a worm in it.
The same applies to almost any product, be it a physical object or a piece of software. A website you find on the Internet might seem fine at first, but as you scroll down, go to another page, or try to send a contact request, it can start showing some design flaws and errors.
This makes quality control so important in every field, where an end-user product is created. Yet, a sour pear won’t cause as much damage as a self-driving car with poor quality autopilot software. A single error in an EHR system might put a patient’s life at risk, while an eCommerce website that has performance issues might cost the owner millions of dollars in revenue.
The Concept of Software Quality: Quality Assurance (QA), Quality Control (QC) and Testing
While to err is human, sometimes the cost of a mistake might be just too high. History knows many examples of situations when software flaws have caused billions of dollars in waste or even lead to casualties: from Starbucks coffee shops being forced to give away free drinks because of a register malfunction, to the F-35 military aircraft being unable to detect the targets correctly because of a radar failure.
The structural quality of the software is usually hard to manage: It relies mostly on the expertise of the engineering team and can be assured through code review, analysis and refactoring. At the same time, functional aspect can be assured through a set of dedicated quality management activities, which includes quality assurance, quality control, and testing.
Quality Assurance is a broad term, explained on the Google Testing Blog as “the continuous and consistent improvement and maintenance of process that enables the QC job”. As follows from the definition, QA focuses more on organizational aspects of quality management, monitoring the consistency of the production process.
Through Quality Control the team verifies the product’s compliance with the functional requirements. As defined by Investopedia, it is a “process through which a business seeks to ensure that product quality is maintained or improved and manufacturing errors are reduced or eliminated”. This activity is applied to the finished product and performed before the product release. In terms of manufacturing industry, it is similar to pulling a random item from an assembly line to see if it complies with the technical specs.
Testing is the basic activity aimed at detecting and solving technical issues in the software source code and assessing the overall product usability, performance, security, and compatibility. It has a very narrow focus and is performed by the test engineers in parallel with the development process or at the dedicated testing stage (depending on the methodological approach to the software development cycle).
Quality control can be compared to having a senior manager walk into a production department and pick a random car for an examination and test drive. Testing activities, in this case, refer to the process of checking every joint, every mechanism separately, as well as the whole product, whether manually or automatically, conducting crash tests, performance tests, and actual or simulated test drives.