Launching a digital product without the supervision of a software quality assurance team is a big risk. A software bug can cost an expensive upgrade, and the solution takes time. For example, Pentagon had to spend $14 billion to remove bugs in the F-35 jet’s software. Therefore, getting your product tested before it costs you a fortune is highly recommended to save yourself from such situations.
So in this article, you will learn the software quality assurance definition. We will walk you through the main SQA activities and plans. By the end, you will know what is QA, its meaning and importance in software development. You will also understand the difference between quality control vs quality assurance. And most importantly, the 5 reasons why you should have a QA tester in your team.
Definition of Software Quality Assurance
Software Quality Assurance (SQA) is a process that helps companies know whether their ongoing software engineering activities are meeting the set standards. Quality assurance engineers are responsible for conducting these tasks. And therefore, they play a vital role by providing their insights to the software development teams.
Chief Components and Activities of Software Quality Assurance
Every company has its own standards and procedures for software quality assurance. So answering the question of “what is quality assurance” depends on the organization’s core operations and the type of software they build. But to ensure you have an idea of activities, we have listed 11 tasks that fit most firms.
1. Making a Great SQA Plan
It means building a plan that includes the SQA techniques and methods to apply them. A robust SQA plan also defines the software development activities required to be carried out throughout the project. The plan also highlights the experience, talent, and required expertise of the right tech team.
2. Building Up Checkpoints
The software quality assurance team sets up quality checkpoints after a specific period. It ensures the software development proceeds as planned, and the results meet expectations.
3. Gathering Requirement
The plan encourages software designers to obtain high-quality specifications through engineering techniques. For instance, they may use the interview and Functional Analysis System Technique (FAST) methods to gather the information.
This information helps software architects make a project estimation with the help of various techniques, including Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Functional Point (FP), and Source Line of Codes (SLOC).
4. Conducting Formal Technical Reviews
A formal technical review is a process to analyze the design and quality of the software prototype. In this process, the technical staff accompany meetings to discuss the software’s quality requirements and the prototype’s design quality. FTRs play a major role in SQA planning as they help detect errors in the initial phase of software development.
5. Carrying Out a Multi-Testing Strategy
No plans are complete without setting up a multi-testing strategy as it enhances the product’s quality. It helps check the software product from all angles through various software testing methods.
6. Ensuring Plan’s Adherence
This activity ensures whether or not the teams are sticking to the plan. It is further divided into two sub-activities.
6a. Process Evaluation
This confirms that the established standards for the software project are correctly followed. The process is based on a time-to-time evaluation to find out if there is any need for adjustments.
6b. Process Monitoring
In this step, the quality assurance team periodically collects the planned and executed process’s results. They interpret the outcomes to analyze if the process is maturing as per the expectations.
7. Control Over Change
This process defines if the product amendment and changes are informed and controllable. It requires different automated and manual tools to check the effects of new changes on the software quality.
8. Change Impact Evaluation
The QA team finds and fixes errors, bringing changes to the product. This is the step where the team determines the impact of new changes on the project’s functionality after handling the errors.
9. SQA Audit
In the SQA audit, the team inspects the difference between the set standards vs the actual software development process that has been followed. It helps authenticate the correctness of the strategic process compared to the actual results. This activity may also reveal infringements in following the planning.
10. Maintenance of Records
Documentation is a requisite in software quality assurance. It helps you save historical data, including audit results, test results, change request documentation, etc.
11. Building Good Intra and Inter Work Relationships
The QA team must work together with other cross-functional departments. There shouldn’t be extreme internal and external conflicts, especially between the QA and software developers.
What a Software Quality Assurance (SQA) Plan Looks Like?
A software quality assurance plan is comprised of the following parts:
A short project overview with well-defined SQA goals and the expected benefits.
It includes details about the cost of training, hiring teams, software tools, or any other resources needed for the project.
It is a list of products and activities to be covered and performed.
It defines the milestones to be achieved in a specific time and the time spent on each activity.
This includes a list of tasks that each team member of the SQA team will be performing.
It is a document in an SQA plan that offers guidance or additional knowledge on a specific topic.
g. Code Control
It demonstrates ways to build a software product in a controlled environment.
h. Quality Acceptance Criteria
It shows the names of the tests to be performed by the team. Moreover, the list also informs about a product’s criteria to become acceptable to the stakeholders and customers.
i. Tools and Techniques
This part of the plan informs about the tools used in software quality assurance and the testing methods.
j. Testing Methodologies
This part of the plan elaborates on the testing methods, such as white-box testing, stress testing, and integration testing, to be used in a project.
k. Software Configuration Management (SCM)
SCM are the activities to be performed by the SQA team to track and control software changes.
l. Problem Reporting and Corrective Action (PRAC)
It is one of the important parts of SQA because it helps teams to identify and solve problems immediately.
Benefits of Software Quality Assurance
A quality assurance (QA) tester can bring plenty of advantages to the software engineering process. Here are a few of the most essential benefits.
- Cost reduction
- Early recognition of system deficiency
- Reduced risks of product failure
- High user retention rate
5 Reasons You Need a Software Quality Assurance (SQA) Tester
Here are the 5 reasons you must include a software quality assurance test engineer in your project.
1. Improved Software Quality
A QA engineer finds and fixes errors in a software product before it is launched. This improves the product’s reliability, security, and usability.
2. Minimum Risk of Software Failure
Many software fails due to defects not being determined and fixed during development. This damages the company’s reputation and results in losing high revenue. But a quality engineer can reduce these risks by identifying and solving problems.
3. Greater Customer Satisfaction
Customers love defectless solutions. But since developing 100% bug-free software is an unrealistic expectation, you can still try to make the product with minimum flaws. Through QA testing, you can build software with fewer errors that attract customers and creates affection.
4. Budget Saver
It is difficult to fix problems in software once it is released. Although it is not impossible, it is time-consuming and requires more money. Contrarily, having a software tester can save you from overspending to fix issues later, as they already do in the development stages.
5. Development Team On Track
A software quality assurance tester keeps the development team on track by offering valuable feedback through test cases. Their insights help developers with the design thinking process, resulting in the building of highly valuable digital products.
Software Quality Assurance helps organizations ensure that the product meets all the set requirements and fits its purpose. SQA plays a great role in the entire development cycle, from information gathering to testing and software deployment. Moreover, quality assurance is based on several activities and executed through a proper SQA plan.
At Slash, we comprehend your need for high software quality. Our rigorously vetted software development and QA teams can build products according to your expectations to meet your customers’ needs. Contact us to begin right now.
FAQs – Software Quality Assurance
Q1. What is software quality assurance for?
Software Quality Assurance (SQA) is a significant part of software development to ensure the product has high quality.
Q2. What are QA QC and QE in software testing?
There are a few major differences when comparing quality assurance vs quality control. For example, QA focuses on the product’s quality by defining standards, while QC focuses on defect prevention through unit, system, and integration testing. On the other hand, Quality Engineering (QE) focuses on improvement, selection of tools, and risk evaluation.
Q3. What is the difference between QA and SQA?
Quality Assurance (QA) means ensuring the quality of any product or service. Software Quality Assurance (SQA) is a quality check specific to software products.
Q4. What is the SQA process?
The SQA process consists of different activities, such as planning, setting checkpoints, testing strategies, controlling changes and measuring their impact, and auditing.
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