For a person who has nothing to do with software development and testing, quality assurance and quality control seem to be the same thing. The truth is, these two terms are commonly confused and used interchangeably. However, there are some differences between the notions and we are here to help you figure them out. So, in this article, you will get acquainted with the head-to-head comparison of quality assurance vs quality control, learn the distinctions between them, and find the examples of each.

What Exactly Do Quality Assurance and Quality Control Mean?

Both processes are meant to improve product quality, but they are not alike.

QA (the short form of Quality Assurance) ensures that all the necessary techniques, procedures, standards, and methodologies have been followed to guarantee a defect-free product.

QC (the short form of Quality Control) stands for a process of validation which ensures that the product has met the previously set requirements. Simply put, this is a process that assures expected quality for the product.

The focus of QA will be on the quality of the verification process and preventing defects while the QC will focus on the entire end product and fixing flaws.

A Comparison Table Showing the Difference Between QA and QC

Quality Assurance Quality Control
DefinitionQA is a proactive process that aims to prevent possible defects from the occurrence. It is performed while a product is being developed.QC is a reactive process that aims to confirm the quality of a particular product by the means of testing, identifying, and debugging defects. It is conducted after a product has been developed.
ObjectiveTo improve the development and testing processes and in this way avoid the appearance of defects. To identify the defects of a product after its development is done and before its release.
What approaches are used to meet the objectives?The QA approach lies in organizing a proper quality management system, assessing its appropriateness, and analyzing of all operations of the system to make sure that everything works in accordance with the design.The QC approach lies in detecting and excluding the sources of quality problems, which have been detected, with the help of special equipment and tools.
Who is responsible for quality? The responsibility for quality assurance lies with every member of a team who is involved in a product development process.When it comes to QC, there is normally a special team who puts a product on a test, search for defects, and get rid of them and so is fully responsible for the final product quality.
FocusThe focus is placed on preventing defects from appearing.The focus is put on testing, identifying, and fixing defects.
DirectionOn a processOn a product
The type of methodPreventiveCorrective
The sequence of processesThe process of Quality Assurance is conducted before Quality Control.The process of Quality Control is always carried out after the QA procedure is finished.

The Importance of QA and QC

When you go to a grocery store to buy some apples, you look for products with the highest quality, right? Of course, the first things that draw your attention are the visual aspects. You judge an apple by its size, color, ripeness, etc. But you can’t bite a piece off before you buy it. So only when a purchase is made and you taste the apple, you can tell whether it is actually good or bad. After all, even the best-looking apples can be with a worm inside.

The same can be said about software products. Let’s say, you go on the Internet and search for an online candy store. You pick the one with the most attractive design. However, while examining the site, you find tons of bugs: a cart doesn’t show a number of chocolates you want to buy, every time you try to enter your contact details, an error notification pops up and things like that. Chances are, after several tries you will just leave this e-store and find another one.

The described situation makes the importance of QA and QC processes crystal clear. Thanks to these procedures it is possible to avoid defects in software products before they are released and assure the best outputs. 

We are all humans. To make mistakes is in our nature. However, some flaws in software development can have significant consequences. To avoid this, it is better to check everything twice. There’s a reason why people say, “Look before you leap”. So, what we are trying to say here is, one shouldn’t underestimate the importance of QA and QC.

QA vs QC: The Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, there is a number of differences between quality assurance and quality control processes. The two terms shouldn’t be mistaken for one another. We have singled out the key differences below: 

  • QA is a list of proactive measures oriented on a process of preventing defects from the appearance whereas QC is a list of reactive measures oriented in a process of finding and fixing defects. 
  • QA procedures are performed by all members of a development team during the software development life cycle while QC is the job of a team of testers only and it is done during the software testing life cycle. 
  • QA puts a focus on a process whilst QC puts a focus on an end-product.

In conclusion, we’d like to point out that at Yojji we utilize both QA and QC as they are essential parts of software development and help us deliver effective IT solutions in a wide array of industries.