Understanding the software concepts: Quality Assurance and Testing
Have you ever wondered what Quality Assurance and Testing are?
Are they the same?
Are these just two titles to the same picture? Simple answer, a big No. Well, testing is just a subset of Quality Assurance. Let’s get into the details of the same. This blog aims to clarify your dilemmas and help you understand whether these two are similar terms or indicate various areas in quality.
While I was pursuing my graduation, I was hired for the QA Role. As per my perception, it was a testing job then. Soon, I have joined the IT sector as a QA and realized that both are different in actual functioning.
So, what are they actually?
Let’s try and answer this question with an analogy you can easily relate to.
Are you Pastaholic? If yes, then you’ll understand this instantly.
Restaurants usually have their own recipes and unique style of cooking.
Now, imagine if you are a customer, looking for a White Sauce Creamy Pasta with extra Cheese. You’ll pass on these special instructions to the restaurant’s waiter. The restaurant’s waiter gathers the input and passes it to the cooking department.
The chef soon instructs the cooks to follow the steps and procedure along with these special instructions. The chef keeps checking if the staff is cooking as per the process designed, by reviewing the number of ingredients being used and if the process being followed is proper or not. While doing so, he realizes that the ingredients at the bottom were over-fried. So, he manages to get a new batch of ingredients fried properly and replaces them with the burnt batch. Now, the chef tastes it to check whether it meets the actual requirements (Extra Cheese) and then serves it to the customer.
But, what if he doesn’t check this and serves the customer? He might have reached the goal of delivering a White Sauce Cheesy Pasta but with a burnt smell, and the customer might get on to his nerves for doing so while he is hungrily waiting for a Yummy Pasta.
Since he managed to check it prior and organized his team to replace it on time by asking a few other people to assist the cook, he could serve the Pasta with confidence. He also uses this experience in his future recipes as a special instruction to the cooks. This is how he prevents the occurrence of issues at later stages. This is called Quality Assurance.
So, as per the above example, it clearly defines that testing (chef tasting the Pasta at the end) is just a phase of the QA process (step by step process and inspecting) that we build and follow.
Let’s dive deeper and define them technically.
Quality Assurance is a journey towards the destination.
It is engineering the development and maintenance processes and standards to assure that the software entity being developed meets the set standards, metrics and agreed specifications. We are familiar with the early saying “Prevention is better than cure”. Similarly, QA moves a step up from finding the failures by aiming to prevent or eliminate them. In the above example, the way the chef monitors and controls the process gains him the utmost confidence to ensure quality. This process can be termed as Quality Assurance.
Testing is an activity of Quality Assurance.
It is the basic activity of planning and executing the entity with a moto of digging and identifying defects prior to the product deliverables. Finally, the theme of validating and verifying the requirements to break the functionality i.e. Tasting the Pasta with all the predefined testing procedures can be termed as Testing.
Let’s wrap this up, assuming that you now have a good understanding of the terms QA and Testing.
In the end, the better Quality Assurance process we design & follow, the fewer defects we encounter & the more assured product we deliver to gain confidence in us.
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