Regardless of industry or business vertical, the success of an organization is based on the quality of its services or products. This is especially true for the software development industry. The only way to ensure that high-quality, reliable software products are put into the market is through thorough quality assurance testing during development.
Quality assurance (or QA) is the process of ensuring that the product at-hand aligns with the business goals, agrees with the appropriate required specifications, and is in compliance with regulatory standards. The goal of this practice is to improve and regulate the software development and maintenance processes.
Software testing and software quality assurance testing are often used as interchangeable terms, however, they differ in their responsibilities, roles, and overall scope of the parts of the Software Development Life Cycle. Testing typically occurs as a sequential step to development while software quality assurance testing spans the entirety of the project, from the initial planning stage through maintenance.
QA services help to identify the weaknesses and issues during the development of software and implement real-time mitigation methods. This sounds redundant, but it brings a fresh perspective and independent eyes to a development process to help identify potential failures and proactively control them. Without this vital step in software development, products would hit the market with issues that could cost organizations in terms of revenue, time, and brand reputation.
According to a popular quality assurance theory, there are four quality assurance levels within the SDLC and the “Rule of Ten” applies to these levels. This means that the cost of fixing a bug or issue after each tier costs 10 times more than the previous level. Errors found at level 1 will cost $100 to fix whereas they could cost $100,000 at production. This model further highlights just how much money quality assurance saves companies.
Why Exactly is Quality Assurance Necessary?
Quality assurance is immensely valuable and beneficial during the development of new software for many reasons, including:
- It saves companies time and money. – If bugs, weaknesses, or issues are found in the early stages of development, it’s much easier, costs less, and takes less time to fix them. The investment in time and resources when it comes to quality assurance pays off time and time again. If the software fails later on during the Software Development Life Cycle, it could mean massive costs, a delayed or even canceled launch date, as well as a loss of reputation.
- It helps ensure a stable, competitive product. – Again, the goal of building any kind of software is to release a product that works reliably with as few bugs and defects as possible. While it’s nearly impossible to release a totally bug-free software product, quality assurance helps verify that it meets different system requirements. This includes functionality, performance, security, overall usability, and other important elements.
Quality assurance professionals not only find and fix bugs within a specific project but also strive to create a continuous process that prevents these bugs from occurring again in the future. This helps make each subsequent product better than the last, thanks to the improved quality of systems and procedures during development.
- QA offers new ideas and perspectives. – No one is going to know an entire project better than someone who examines said project extensively for flaws or issues. Quality assurance experts add extra value to the team by suggesting new ideas, improvements, or fresh viewpoints on individual products or the software development process as a whole.
- Quality assurance professionals help ensure software security and safety. – Every software product must be safe, efficient, and trustworthy for the benefit of both its users and the company developing it. Companies should implement every possible security measure to help guarantee that their software products don’t provide opportunities for data breaches, hacks, or leaks of private user or company information.
Part of quality assurance professionals’ job is to help make sure of the implementation of the best security practices and procedures into every software build to keep users and companies as safe as possible.
- Prevention becomes the top priority. – Quality assurance pros work towards proactiveness in terms of error detection to help organizations eliminate the possibility of failure. This enables the production of intuitive, stable software time after time.
QA professionals also help identify processes within the development cycle that may no longer work as efficiently as they once did or don’t meet the required industry standards anymore. This optimizes the Software Development Life Cycle and increases the efficiency of the development process.
Quality assurance is an incredibly important part of the process of developing software. Without making it a part of each and development project, companies leave themselves vulnerable to exorbitant costs and put their name on the line with their customers.