quality assurance (QA)

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Guide: Important steps to improving your QA career
Contributor(s): J. Alexander

In developing products and services, quality assurance is any systematic process of checking to see whether a product or service being developed is meeting specified requirements. Many companies have a separate department devoted to quality assurance. A quality assurance system is said to increase customer confidence and a company's credibility, to improve work processes and efficiency, and to enable a company to better compete with others. Quality assurance was initially introduced in World War II when munitions were inspected and tested for defects after they were made. Today's quality assurance systems emphasize catching defects before they get into the final product.

ISO 9000 is an international standard that many companies use to ensure that their quality assurance system is in place and effective. Conformance to ISO 9000 is said to guarantee that a company delivers quality products and services. To follow ISO 9000, a company's management team decides quality assurance policies and objectives. Next, the company or an external consultant formally writes down the company's policies and requirements and how the staff can implement the quality assurance system. Once this guideline is in place and the quality assurance procedures are implemented, an outside assessor examines the company's quality assurance system to make sure it complies with ISO 9000. A detailed report describes the parts of the standard the company missed, and the company agrees to correct any problems within a specific time. Once the problems are corrected, the company is certified as in conformance with the standard.

This was last updated in February 2007

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IBM's ALM suite, Rational CLM, consists of legacy software that helps enterprises plan and track projects, manage requirements and quality, and collaborate globally.

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"Conformance to ISO 9000 is said to guarantee that a company delivers quality products and services."

To me, ISO 9000 is a very generic tool used to capture documentation around what you plan on doing and what you end up doing.  In capturing that documentation, it seems hard to claim any sort of guarantee.  Bureaucratic processes can make it such that your methods are more consistent, but in my experience when what you do varies from day to day, bureaucratic processes just get in the way.  That is to say, in the world of manufacturing, this standard is probably helpful, but in the world of software development, I would rather not be constrained by such a standard.

Hi..............................please I need a comprehensive detail on QC and QA
It's important to mention here, that Quality Assurance applied in manufacturing is one thing. Software Quality Assurance is completely another, and methods from the former tend to fail. Software Development is Research-and-Development, and requirements are being developed, too, as the project unfolds, and technologies evolve.
This article is well organized that made my process of understanding flow fluently. Thanks to all authors of this article.
Can anybody tell me the relevancy of QA and QC for safety officer
Can anybody tell me the relevancy of QA and QC in a pipe line operation



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