Quality Assurance vs Quality Control vs Software Testing


Today, certain terms in software engineering often get confused with each other. A common example of this is Quality Assurance vs Quality Control vs Software testing.

They might sound very similar and interchangeable at first, but these terms actually have their own separate meanings.

If you’ve had anything to do with IT projects, you have likely come across them already. If you’ve been following our blog, you also probably noticed that we spend a lot of time discussing software quality-related topics and issues. This is mainly because we believe that focusing on quality during development projects is more important than ever, considering the enormous competition between service providers.

This is why we’ve decided to clarify these topics, to give you an understanding of the areas you need to focus on to effectively achieve higher quality. Other reasons why we think software product quality is crucial:

  • Development tasks start to take longer to complete, bug fixes take up more and more of the team’s time, missing deadlines and prolonging crucial updates.
  • Future development estimations become highly inaccurate and unreliable, turning project planning into a nightmare for your management team.
  • With a low-quality product that doesn’t sell or actually help customers, your chances for turning a profit drop significantly.
  • Poor source code quality can also negatively impact customers’ perception of your product, and the whole organization.


To introduce effective quality management practices into your own development processes, you must understand what the terminology represents, and what purpose each activity serves first.

So let’s jump into the topic of Quality Assurance vs Quality Control vs Software Testing, starting with QA.


Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance is a set of methods and activities to verify that the final software product gets developed in accordance with requirements and specifications. Its goal is to validate the quality and functionality of the software before release, and make sure that the final product provides the best possible user experience.

QA should be an essential part of the software development life cycle as a planned strategy that details the testing and evaluation processes in order to achieve high product quality.

Quality Assurance is a top-level strategy that works out ways to detect and eliminate possible bugs and errors in the software. Contrary to popular belief, its main focus is not on completing the operations-level testing activities. Rather, it is to establish management-related areas like development methodologies, issue resolution, project management and analysis, etc.

QA is process-oriented, not specifically product-oriented. It is about working out the methodology of preventing defects, engineering processes that help product development teams achieve quality in an effective and efficient way.

So, to summarize, Quality Assurance is not about identifying and fixing specific defects. It is a way to create processes that help your team identify and fix any upcoming issues and defects throughout the entire project lifecycle.

By the time you get to actual quality control and testing activities, you must already have a top-level QA strategy in place if you want to maintain project efficiency.


Quality Control

Quality Control is the process of checking the degree of readiness of the software product to release and its compliance with the requirements. As a process, QC is a part of the wider Quality Assurance methodology.

It is about examining the actual results of development before release. So as opposed to QA, which works on the process level, Quality Control is product-oriented.

QC is done by comparing the developed results to what was expected in the original requirements documentation. The state of the source code itself also has to be examined and compared to programming standards, architectural documentation, security requirements, etc.

The findings from this process allow development managers to prepare necessary quality correction measures depending on the current stage of the project. In some cases, QC is also used to verify whether the best possible technical solutions, programming languages, frameworks and tools were used by the developers or not.

So, unlike QA, which is proactive, QC is reactive. Quality Control detects bugs by examining the product itself before it gets released. This basically means checking if the product meets the predetermined set of requirements.


Software Testing

Software Testing represents the operations-level activity of actually checking the software for errors and bugs. This can be done using various methods such as:

  • Usability testing – Checking if end users will be able to easily use and understand the software. Helps identify usability issues and improve user experience.
  • Compatibility testing – Verify that the software works perfectly on devices with various screen sizes, running different operating systems. In case of web applications, this includes testing cross-browser compatibility as well.
  • Functional testing – Checking whether the software works in accordance with feature specifications and business requirements.
  • Performance testing – Also includes load and stress testing. It means testing the robustness and stability of the software under extreme conditions.

So what is the main difference between Quality Control and Software Testing? So far they sound quite similar.

Software Testing represents the activity of running or executing a program with the intention of finding defects, while QC is a way of managing these defects. 

After identifying software defects, additional rounds of testing must be performed as well to check if they are fixed. Testing is absolutely crucial in making sure that the product reaches your customers with as few errors and bugs as possible.

Developers may interpret some requirements and functions in a different way than intended by the product owner. That’s why it is essential to have a software tester who can check if everything is functioning as required.

Testing has to be an integral part of software development throughout the entire project, performed by professionals with strong expertise in finding every possible user scenario to test each function thoroughly.


To summarize

By understanding the basic terminology of Quality Assurance vs Quality Control vs Software Testing, you’ve made the first step towards achieving consistently high product quality. To summarize once again:

Quality Assurance represents the very top-level strategy, focused on establishing and optimizing necessary quality management processes.

Once this is established, it is up to Quality Control to examine the state of the actual product and provide a framework for the operations-level Software Testing activities.

Establishing effective Quality Assurance processes is a lengthy process that requires careful planning and a lot of optimization on the management side. For more information and guides about the topic, follow our blog or reach out to us and ask your questions directly.

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