Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance (QA) is one of several UmbrellaActivities?

The shortest simplest, all-encompassing definition for QualityAssurance I could come up with is: A process/effort that ensures that processes are followed, that the processes have us doing the right things, the right way, and when they fail to be used or fail to perform as expected we have a way to correct, adjust, or escalate the matter until it is resolved to everyone's satisfaction. Everything else "QA" is some effort to implement/support the above.

This definition is common enough, but nonetheless wacked. Quality is about quality, not process. What you've described is process assurance. True QualityAssurance might ensure quality with good training and tools, rather than process definition and auditing.

StatisticalQualityControl?, SPC, ThreeSigma?, SixSigma, Quality Circles, what have you, all have aspects that help the QA process determine the "what is right" parts. Defining "what is right" for a given organization is the tough part. Once that is done (and it ought to change as circumstances and conditions change for the organization), the elements of QA as a process need not be nearly as complex.

Many may now ask, "How do you ensure that the QA process is the 'right' process?" For that we rely on results.

Like anything else worthwhile in business, if we're not doing it effectively and for the betterment of our business/organization, then why are we doing it at all? If our QA process doesn't get us beneficial results then we are wasting time and money. If we're doing QA because we are required by some contractual obligation to do it, then we've totally missed the point to having it done. Our QA processes must help us get better at making products -- on the idea that doing better at making products means we make products cheaper, faster, and more closely in line with what the customers expect.

I'd be happy to talk/work with anyone out there interested in having such QA processes. -->> HillelGlazer

(Remember, defining QualityAssurance, is not the same as defining 'Quality'. The definition of 'Quality' can be debated ad infinitum.)

Make discovery of errors cheapest via TestDrivenDesign.
See: QualityControl, QualityAssuranceIsNotQualityControl, QualityAssuranceIsNotResponsibleForQuality, ExtremeProgrammingQualityAssurance


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