New or small businesses often skip out on having specialised quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) mechanisms in product development. Usually, this is to save on costs – instead of pledging to take extra care in the building of the product and encouraging programmers to run their own tests to make up for what is lost.

But this kind of rudimentary testing isn’t good enough. It also isn’t good enough to select one over the other. The best products go through a rigorous timeline of both QA and QC testing and stick to any testing guidelines ideated by the company.

So, what exactly is quality assurance and quality control, and what makes them so valuable to businesses of all sizes?

What’s the real difference between QA and QC?

People tend to mix up quality assurance and quality control. Though they are associated, they are distinct – and confusing the two may mean hiring someone who isn’t equipped to complete the work you need to have done.

Quality assurance focuses on improving development and testing processes in order to prevent defects when developing products. It involves QAs taking a proactive approach to improve product quality by establishing a good quality management system. As a result, the testing process is often quite planned and systematic, and testing is sometimes even scaffolded into the product build from the ground up.

Quality control, on the other hand, attempts to identify defects after products are developed. It is a reactive process where the focus is troubleshooting – finding and removing the root causes of problems through various resources, to ensure customer requirements are met correctly.

Why new businesses can’t afford to skip QA and QC

Without a quality management system that comes out of quality assurance, you run the risk of reaching a point in your product where any minor change to fix a defect requires a massive overhaul of code, because the cohesive quality of the product was not considered from the beginning.

In the long term, it means your product could stagnate as you become more incapable of fulfilling customer requests. This is especially a problem for small and new businesses looking to gain a foothold in the industry, as they risk slipping behind the fastest.

On the other hand, without quality control mechanisms, testing becomes patchy and inconsistent. Both are therefore equally important and play a vital role in SDLC.

Delivering the best product using your quality frameworks

 To ensure quality assurance is adhered to during the development process, a good testing strategy followed by a test plan and Swift are essential. Once the product is available for testing, functional and nonfunctional testing should be carried out to ensure client requirements are correctly delivered in a timely manner through the product release.

At ELMO, we give different teams involved in the development process different priorities. In an ideal world, quality is always prioritised. However, in the real world, speedy delivery is another contesting factor, and balancing it with great product quality is always a challenge.

Ultimately, if a business wants to make sure their product suffers no deficiencies in the long run, onboarding quality assurance and quality control specialists should be a core priority. Although there are some challenges that come with ensuring every step of product development is deficiency-free, the benefits of doing so far outweigh the short-term cost.

Interested in tackling some of the challenges we’re working on as part of an awesome QA team? Check out our jobs or our talent team at [email protected].

Learn more about how ELMO can help your organisation.