What’s the difference between quality assurance and quality control?
While both terms imply an activity that improves the quality of a product, and the overall goal of both is to create an error-free product, the specific goal of each activity is quite different. In most development environments, when a product is made, certain consistent processes are followed. Such processes may include coding standards, documentation requirements, periodic reviews, etc. Following these processes helps to avoid unexpected obstacles that might appear if things are done in a more ad-hoc fashion. If a systematic problem is discovered, the process can be tweaked to avoid that particular issue in the future. This is quality assurance – implementation, maintenance and review of the processes and environment that is in place to create your product and hopefully prevent defects in those products.
Where does quality control come in? The immediate goal of quality control is to measure the quality of the product being created by testing and finding defects so they can be fixed before the product is delivered. Quality control is also a tool for evaluating the quality assurance process in the organization. Poor quality assurance will lead to many defects being found during the quality control phase and should prompt a review of the quality assurance processes that are in place.
Thus, quality assurance is more of a general overall strategy, while quality control is more of a specific test of quality. Both have their place and both are necessary.
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