QA, short for “quality assurance”, is the process of ensuring a high level of quality in software products. You probably already know this.
But QA doesn’t just mean testing. There’s much more to it than that. Let’s take a look at what exactly “QA” encompasses.
What does QA Stand for?
QA is a mindset.
QA in software is more than a long list of testing activities. It is a mindset your entire team should embody. QA includes everything that has an influence on creating high quality software products. That includes processes, procedures, tools, people, and standards. QA means always keeping a pulse on weaknesses and identifying opportunities for improvement in all of these areas.
If your team is constantly pushing out new features, and never revisiting them to improve quality (even if said features don’t have any bugs), you have a quality problem.
Testing doesn’t create value, it defends it.
Testing alone cannot guarantee a high quality product. Think of an app that is free of bugs (rare, if not impossible), runs quickly, has a slick UI, but it does not help it’s users achieve what they need to do. Would you still consider it a high-quality application?
In QA, testing doesn’t necessarily “add” value to a product, it ensures the value is there. As a tester, your job in QA is to ensure wide test coverage and to always speak up when you identify an area of weakness in the product or process.
QA encompasses the entire development process.
Quality needs to be the focus from the very start with requirements gathering, and all the way through to maintenance. This involves a wide range of testing techniques, documentation, and processes. Once processes have been defined, QA is responsible for identifying any faults in the process and correcting those weaknesses to ensure continual improvement. A good QA professional keeps an eye on the bigger picture. They help your team hone in on quality issues from communication to code.
The entire development process is prone to weaknesses and improvements in quality. It is QA’s role to keep this at the front of everyone’s mind.
As you can see, QA is not just the act of testing. It is the belief that every part of the software development life-cycle has the opportunity to influence quality. A QA mindset can help built quality into the product from the start. If you have a quality problem, don’t just hire a quality team. That’s more of a band-aid approach. Instead, solve the problem at a deeper level.
Hire quality-focused people, and always take a step back to make sure you’re heading in the right direction – towards quality.