Essentials of Quality Assurance in Software Development

Jul 13, 2021 | Blog Post

In 2020, the worldwide business software and services market was estimated to be worth USD 389.86 billion. From 2021 to 2028, it is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.3 percent. As a result, the number and size of software development firms are rapidly increasing, which increases competition for new clients and, ultimately, reduces profitability. Consequently, many outsourcers are looking for ways to reduce development costs. Some have gone so far as to cut back on Quality Assurance in order to offer more competitive bids.

In this post, we’ll discuss the role of quality assurance in software development.

What is Quality Assurance in software development?

In a nutshell, Quality Assurance, or QA, is a process of defining and managing a set of criteria for the development of dependable products. A well-designed quality assurance system reduces defects, enhances a company’s reputation, increases consumer trust in products, improves workflow efficiency, and provides a significant competitive edge.

“Quality control (QC)”, “Quality Assurance (QA)”, and “testing” are concepts that are often used interchangeably by non-tech professionals, however they are actually distinct concepts. Here’s how they compare and contrast.

  • Testing is the process of examining software code and design for faults and mistakes. There are several testing methods (Grey Box, Black Box, White Box, et. al.) that may be automated or performed manually by the QA team to verify the performance of a software’s code and design. Testing may take place throughout the software development life cycle’s testing phase or at any point during the development process.
  • Quality Control is known as the process of ensuring that the produced software meets the criteria and standards that were initially set by the client and product manager. It is carried out on a finished or almost finished product to verify that all of its features work together flawlessly. While testing is concerned with faults in code and design, quality control is concerned with the overall quality of the product.
  • On the other hand, Quality Assurance is a wide phrase that includes both testing and quality control and focuses on the entire quality of the software development process. It refers to the practice of continuously improving procedures in order to guarantee greater quality control. QA is engaged at every step of the development process, unlike testing and quality control. It ensures that each stage of the process (requirement collecting and analysis, planning, designing, coding and development, testing, and launch) is completed correctly, ensuring high quality throughout the project lifetime.

The diagram below accurately shows the three concepts in connection to one another.

quality assurance, quality control, testing

How do QA teams assess the quality of software?

The quality attributes method focuses on attaining the six main quality criteria listed below:

  • Functionality: Have the software’s functionalities been developed properly and are they appropriate? What is the software’s relationship to the rest of the system? Is it capable of safely handling data? Is it in accordance with all applicable rules and regulations?
  • Reliability: Is the program reliable under certain circumstances (for example, when a component fails)? How often do things go wrong? How quickly can the system be restored to full functionality following a failure?
  • Usability: Can consumers readily grasp how the program works? How much time and effort does it take to learn how the software works?
  • Efficiency: When creating software, did the development team use excellent coding practices? Is the structure intended to be as efficient as possible?
  • Performance: Does the software work smoothly? Are the features in conflict with each other?
  • Load test: When the demand is high, how will the system work?

There are also other factors that need to be assessed such as maintainability and portability.  For specific projects such as in the medical, food, etc., QA teams also need to consider the laws, regulations, and standards of the place where the software will operate.

Along with the requirements of Agile project management, QA teams must also become involved early in the project and apply test automation so that they can provide continuous feedback to customers whenever they need it.

What is the value of Quality Assurance in software development?

1. Saves Time and Money

Having systems and procedures in place throughout development anticipates and prevents the majority of problems and faults from arising in the first place. As a consequence, any mistakes that appear along the way are less costly to correct.

Conversely, without QA, problems are usually not discovered until the final testing process or, worse yet, after the software is published. These situations require enormous time, effort, and expense to correct.

2. Maintains Product Quality

Quality Assurance procedures are intended to guarantee that software is reliable and stable. There are Quality Control (QC) tests that check for functionality, performance, security, usability, etc.  These tests take into account the possibility that the user may not utilize the software as intended. Part of this testing is to ensure that the product is ‘idiot-proof,’ so that incorrect usage will not result in failure. 

3. Ensures Security

While a software program may execute all of its tasks as planned, it is not always secure. The product and the data of its consumers may be jeopardized if its defenses have any flaws. One of the reasons why Quality Assurance is so essential in software development is that it ensures that your product is designed with security in mind and that the protections in place are functional.  

4. Safeguards Your Reputation

The quality of your software has the potential to reflect on your business and brand. You may establish a good reputation for your company by launching a high-quality product with outstanding features and complete security. This is where the value of Quality Assurance in software development is most apparent. It guarantees that your product is a good representative of your company’s brand.

5. Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is a term used to describe how satisfied a customer is with a product. Your product must meet the requirements of your consumers in order to guarantee customer satisfaction. It should contain all of the necessary features and function correctly. The purpose of Quality Assurance is to ensure that the program delivers precisely what your consumers anticipate.

Conclusion

Quality Assurance in software development is an absolutely essential activity. It ensures your product reliably and securely behaves as defined in a way that makes sense to your end-user. Therefore, skimping on Quality Assurance is a shortsighted decision. In fact, studies have shown that an investment in QA provides a sizable long-term return. So make the wise choice… get the QA teams engaged early and often. Can you afford not to?

CodeStringers

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