What is Quality Assurance?

What is Quality Assurance?

The American Society for Quality (ASQ) provides the following quality assurance definition...

The planned and systematic activities implemented in a quality system so that quality requirements for a product or service will be fulfilled.

You can think of quality assurance as the activities and management processes that are done to ensure that the products and services the project delivers are at the required quality level. It is process driven and focused on the development of the product or delivery of the service.

Quality Assurance Tools & Techniques

There are many tools and techniques that form the basis of the key quality assurance principles. Some of these include...

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Cost of Quality (COQ)
  • Control Charts
  • Benchmarking
  • Design of Experiments (DOE)
  • Statistical Sampling
  • Flow Charting
  • Quality Management Methodologies (i.e. Six Sigma, CMMI, etc)
  • Cause and Effect Diagrams (i.e. Fishbone Diagram)
  • Histogram
  • Pareto Chart
  • Run Chart
  • Scatter Diagram
  • Inspection

Quality Assurance vs Quality Control

Quality assurance and quality control are sometimes confused with each other.

One of the key quality assurance principles that differentiates it from quality control is that quality assurance is performed during the project to help make sure the product meets the quality standards. For example, creating a Project Quality Management Plan, following a quality assurance process, and performing audits.

Quality control, on the other hand, evaluates whether the resulting product produced by the project met the quality standards. Quality control activities are performed after a product has been created to determine if it meets the quality requirements. The results of the quality control process are used by the quality assurance process to determine if any changes are needed to the quality assurance process.

Hopefully you are now able to answer the question, "What is Quality Assurance?" using the definition of quality assurance presented here as well as distinguish between quality assurance and quality control.

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