Often these terms are used interchangeably, perhaps because in many organizations the same people perform both software quality assurance (SQA) activities and software test activities. However, QA refers to the monitoring the processes that are used throughout the development lifecycle. Software test is about detecting defects in work products.
The QA group would be concerned with determining the type of methodology that would be used, the inputs and outputs of the various phases of the software development lifecycle, deliverables, and ensuring that agreed-upon standards are followed.
Software test is performed on a specific application. Testers would need to have a thorough understanding of the application under test and execute test scenarios to determine how closely the application matches the requirements.
This was first published in January 2010