In the modern world, the word software has become a common word for us. We are constantly being exposed to new and more advanced applications through our computers and smartphones. Thousands of new applications are released on popular android and iOS platforms each day.
However, releasing new software applications is one thing, and ensuring the app satisfies its end users is another. Consumers demand not only a plethora of software options but also high-quality solutions. As a result, developing new applications does not mean everything in the current industry. Customers only stick to apps they think are of high quality and well-maintained. Software quality assurance comes into play here as it ensures software products meet customer expectations and industry standards.
In this blog, we will try to understand the idea behind software quality assurance, the various approaches to Software QA, and its purpose. Moreover, we will get to see why it is different from software testing as well.
What Really is Software Quality Assurance?
Software quality assurance is the process of objectively assessing the state of a software system, pinpointing where the problem lies, and enforcing a fix for the issues found. It’s an approach that guarantees the final product to meet the specified requirements with the highest level of quality.
Quality Assurance is not only a step in the software development process but an integral part of the software development lifecycle. It helps verify if all the team members have executed their tasks according to plan, as well as if they have implemented all procedures necessary or not.
The appropriate approach of SQA is to test for defects or bugs throughout the development life cycle rather than just at executing the process at the end, as it will result in a massacre for the product and extend the time estimation to finish the project.
The software systems are developed to serve a specific group of customers who are the real-users of any products. Therefore, when you’ve completed developing a system it needs to get evaluated by real-users. The users will browse and evaluate the system’s features, usability, and functionality and based on their experience they will provide collective feedback. Therefore, allowing the development team to address and resolve any bugs detected during the process to deliver a quality product in the market.
However, this type of testing may not always be fruitful in identifying issues with the software’s core elements. As users are not experts to know what is happening in the codes. As a result, a rigorous QA approach is essential in addressing the issues before it is launched. As the approach prevents customer complaints and ensures the quality of the system. A software must maintain an unbreakable shield, as it contains various data and sensitive information of users, to make sure a customer feels safe to use the system.
What are Software Quality Assurance Approaches?
A software project is successful, when it’s delivered to its consumers without any defects. To make sure the product is clean from any defects, a thorough project management is needed. Project managers orchestrate every detail there is to fine tune and make the end product perfect, which specifically includes implementation of Quality Assurance approaches.
Let’s look at two of the SQA approaches narrating why software QA is essential for software development:
Software Quality Defect Management
Its primary goal is to improve the software’s functionality, as well as quality by detecting and fixing bugs. Defects can be roughly sorted into three categories: low, medium, and high priority. Development teams often take the help of defect leakage metrics and concise control charts for upgrading the functionality of the overall software development process.
Software Quality Attributes
A software product’s ability to function as intended is evaluated using this method regardless of the presence or absence of bugs. Teams working on software use a variety of metrics to assess how well it performs. These attributes are highly important to recognize as the quality of the development process largely depends on identifying such issues early in the process. Let’s take a look into these attributes:
✸ Reliability: This attribute defines the software’s capability to function over time in various working environments and conditions. Despite these differences, it is expected that the software spits out correct results.
✸ Usability: Usability refers to the ease of use of the software for its intended users. The software must be easy to learn and navigate. Overall, usability refers to how easy it is to use a product and how well it performs its intended function.
✸ Efficiency: This attribute refers to the system’s ability to utilize its available resources. An efficient software application will take minimal time and power to operate. As a result, users will face no difficulty while running the software.
✸ Maintainability: It demonstrates how simple and inexpensive it is to keep several system versions up-to-date and to facilitate modifications and upgrades.
✸ Portability: As the name suggests, this attribute helps to figure out if the software can run on different platforms, making it portable and widely available.
Purpose of Software Quality Assurance
The goal of software quality assurance is to guarantee that final software releases live up to predetermined benchmarks of quality and customer expectations. This is accomplished by a set of deliberate and methodical procedures designed to detect and prevent programming mistakes.
Which is why, QA engineers are an integral part of any software development team! They help to make their product stand out from the rest and make sure that the goodwill of the company remains intact. They often take the help of the latest software development tools to ensure the quality of the product. Let’s look at the key purpose of Software Quality Assurance:
✸ Software Product Validation: The development team develops a new software product through a very painstaking process. However, even the best engineers can make mistakes and the product will contain bugs and performance issues. The main objective of the SQA is to find those bugs and make sure these problems are ironed out. SQA makes sure that the end software caters to the client’s requirements.
✸ Provides the Best Quality Service: All software development teams try their best to make a product that sets them apart. However, when directly involved with the development work, it becomes quite hard to test and identify each and every aspect of functionality and usability. That’s where SQA comes in and purposefully works toward increasing the perfection of the end product without compromising quality. SQA improves the development process and helps to maintain overall quality.
✸ Constant Study: The IT world constantly evolves and security patches must be implemented to protect sensitive data and features of the software. As a result, the QA team always has to keep themselves up-to-date with the latest testing tools and technologies in the industry. Their collective intelligence can be further implemented in the software itself to develop a robust system that is both unique and on par with the advancement of technological aspects.
✸ Ensures Customer Satisfaction: Another major objective of the SQA team is to increase customer satisfaction with the software product. The team makes sure that the customer requirements are fulfilled and if something deviates from the plan then work until it fits within the predetermined purpose of the software. SQA involves planning, designing, implementing, testing, and reporting. All of these activities are aimed at making the customers satisfied.
Why Is It Necessary to Have Software Quality Assurance?
The significance of quality assurance in the development and maintenance of the software cannot be emphasized enough. It is an excellent approach to managing software products. Let’s have a look at why it is so important:
✸ Saves Costs and Time: SQA works toward finding bugs and requirement issues early in the development process. As a result, it saves a lot of time and costs compared to finding these issues after the product has been fully developed.
✸ Robust and Cutting-edge Software Solution: SQA helps to build an industry-leading software experience for its intended customers. SQA ensures that the product is up to the mark and that developers have done an outstanding job in making the product. Testing on attributes such as reliability, functionality, usability, portability, etc. helps to establish a good software product.
✸ Helps to Increase the Goodwill of the Company: SQA is a process that makes sure all software products are up to the mark and do not contain any major issues. So, companies try to achieve perfection through the process of SQA. It is highly important to have the goodwill of the company unscathed in order to get hold of future contracts. So, SQA protects your company’s reputation.
✸ Establishes Security Protocols: In the current world, cybersecurity has become one of the most talked about topics. Businesses are highly concerned about the security of their sensitive data and they expect their custom software to protect their privacy. Custom software requirements are also increasing as companies want to tweak their own needs into their desired systems and SQA comes into play here as it ensures the software is equipped with the latest security protocols and can be trustworthy for customers.
✸ Making Customers Satisfied: To ensure consumer satisfaction, the software product must cover every aspect. It must function correctly and without interruption. Using software quality assurance procedures guarantees that the product meets or exceeds user expectations. So, it is highly important for making your customers satisfied.
Software Quality Assurance vs Software Testing
Even though these two terms might seem very similar, software quality assurance and software testing are fundamentally different. Let’s take a look at their key differences:
Software QA vs. Software Testing
|SQA is an integrated task that is present in the whole process of software development.||Software testing is present in the final stage of the development process after the software is fully developed.|
|The verification process starts in the beginning phase so that it is easier to maintain industry standards.||Software testing initiates the process in later stages and tests application functionalities as per requirements|
|In quality assurance, products, and services are tested and evaluated to see if they function as intended and satisfy customer needs.||Functionality and issue detection are primary concerns during software testing.|
|Software quality assurance is a management-level implementation. It requires extensive work as a separate team to identify and resolve bugs. It includes elaborate processes, standards, tools, policies, and training for achieving a solid product.||Software testing is a small component of the quality assurance strategy and in most cases development teams can perform the testing as no separate unit is required.|
To wrap up, software quality assurance is an essential process that works toward delivering high-quality software products that meet the needs and expectations of end-users. Software quality assurance is a set of practices and procedures aimed at reducing the negative effects of software development flaws and bugs. The goal of software quality assurance is to produce software that can be trusted in terms of its functionality, performance, maintainability, and safety.
Businesses may boost product quality, cut costs, and delight customers by incorporating quality assurance procedures into every stage of the software development lifecycle. If a company is serious about competing in today’s software industry, it must prioritize software quality assurance. It has become an integral part of any reputed software development company.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What is the main purpose of software quality assurance?
Ans: The main purpose of software quality assurance is to ensure that software products are reliable, meet user requirements, and function as intended.
Q. Can a company operate without software quality assurance?
Ans: Technically, yes. But a company will certainly fail to provide good quality products without a software quality assurance team.
Q. What are some common software quality assurance methods?
Ans: Some common software quality assurance methods include unit testing, integration testing, regression testing, code reviews, and automated testing.
Q. Who is responsible for software quality assurance?
Ans: Generally, companies have a dedicated team who are responsible for software quality assurance of the products they develop.
Q. What are the four steps in software quality assurance?
Ans: The four steps in software quality assurance are Plan, Do, Check, and Act.