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Thread: FAQ:: QA vs. QC

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    FAQ:: QA vs. QC

    Now that the holidays are over (Happy New Year, everyone) and we have had sufficient time to give our definitions, let's discuss the difference between QA and QC.

    Not limited to but including:

    How is one different from the other?
    How are they the same?
    Is QA a subset of QC...or the other way around?

    Here are the links to the threads:

    Quality: www.qaforums.com/Forum15/HTML/002058.html
    QA: www.qaforums.com/Forum15/HTML/002003.html
    QC: www.qaforums.com/Forum15/HTML/002044.html

    ------------------
    "I can see my house from here!"
    Jordan Gottlieb - Keeper of the QA Forums FAQ
    Qualitech Solutions, Inc.
    jgottlieb@qualitechsolutions.com
    Jordan Gottlieb
    Senior Consultant, Orasi Software
    Twitter: @JG_QA

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    Re: FAQ:: QA vs. QC

    The other threads do a wonderful job of defining the terms; therefore I will not do so again here.

    Quality Assurance (QA) is the governing department that ensures quality of the entire process of design, develop, test and deploy throughout a company. The methodology will be assessed, decided upon and implemented by QA. Ensuring completeness, quality and efficiency throughout the process to create a successful application or product. By incorporating previously known metrics from previous projects, they implement changes to ensure further progress of efficiency and quality in the process as a whole.

    Quality Control (QC) operates under the QA umbrella as the process implemented by QA to test and control the application or product through development to deploy. QC is responsible for the development of testing strategy, approach, test plans and cases within the implemented methodology. May also be incorporated into further support after the product has been deployed to test and regression test issues that become apparent after launch. All of this is done under the supervision of QA so that the process and findings can further improve the process in the future.

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    [This message has been edited by digits71 (edited 01-02-2002).]

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    Re: FAQ:: QA vs. QC

    No one has any comments on this? Now THAT'S surprising!

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    Re: FAQ:: QA vs. QC

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by digits71:
    No one has any comments on this? Now THAT'S surprising!

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I'd prefer a definition of QC which does not imply it is a subset of QA (not necessarily what I think you intended, but it sort of reads that way to me). I see it more like:

    QA: The group whose function is to analyze the development/production process, recommend and institute procedural improvements, and monitor the adherence to established procedures.

    QC: The group whose function is to measure the deliverables from development/production, via testing and inspection, in order to determine the deliverables' quality.

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    Charles Reace

    charles{DOT}reace{AT}verizon{DOT}net
    web site | [url=http://www.ebookworm.us/[/url]

    [i]...Sound trumpets! Every trumpet in the host! / Sixty thousand, on these words, sound, so high the mountains sound, and the valleys resound.&lt;/i] (The Song of Roland)

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    Re: FAQ:: QA vs. QC

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by digits71:
    I acknowledge that there are environments where there may only be a QA department or a QC department. However, when both exist within an organization, I do place QC as a subset of QA.

    I believe QA to be the governing body over QC since it is responsible for the process as a whole in success, efficiency and quality. QC is involved on a per project bases, QA is involved in all quality processes company wide. Therefore, I believe QC is a subset of QA.

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I'll agree to disagree, sort of.

    I look at QA as an independent oversight organization. Perhaps it's valid in a sense to say that QA is "the governing body over QC" since QA dictates (hopefully in a collaborative manner) the processes QC follows, but I would say that QA is equally the governing body over all engineering and production departments, not just QC, as those other departments will have their respective processes to be followed. (How's that for a long, clumsy sentence? )

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    Charles Reace

    charles{DOT}reace{AT}verizon{DOT}net
    web site | [url=http://www.ebookworm.us/[/url]

    [i]...Sound trumpets! Every trumpet in the host! / Sixty thousand, on these words, sound, so high the mountains sound, and the valleys resound.&lt;/i] (The Song of Roland)

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    Re: FAQ:: QA vs. QC

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Charles Reace:
    I'd prefer a definition of QC which does not imply it is a subset of QA (not necessarily what I think you intended, but it sort of reads that way to me). <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I acknowledge that there are environments where there may only be a QA department or a QC department. However, when both exist within an organization, I do place QC as a subset of QA.

    I believe QA to be the governing body over QC since it is responsible for the process as a whole in success, efficiency and quality. QC is involved on a per project bases, QA is involved in all quality processes company wide. Therefore, I believe QC is a subset of QA.

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    I'd be interested in hearing the other side being that "QC is not a subset of QA."

    [This message has been edited by digits71 (edited 01-02-2002).]

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    Re: FAQ:: QA vs. QC

    Charles says:
    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Perhaps it's valid in a sense to say that QA is "the governing body over QC" since QA dictates (hopefully in a collaborative manner) the processes QC follows, but I would say that QA is equally the governing body over all engineering and production departments, not just QC, as those other departments will have their respective processes to be followed.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Does the scope of software QA or engineering QA reduce the distinction between QA and QC? Or, does QA, by definition, go beyond that scope? Does QA, by its very nature, extend beyond what the company is doing for a client (ultimately a product or service) and extend into improvement of the company itself?

    ------------------
    "I can see my house from here!"
    Jordan Gottlieb - Keeper of the QA Forums FAQ
    Qualitech Solutions, Inc.
    jgottlieb@qualitechsolutions.com
    Jordan Gottlieb
    Senior Consultant, Orasi Software
    Twitter: @JG_QA

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    Re: FAQ:: QA vs. QC

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by jgottlieb:

    Does the scope of software QA or engineering QA reduce the distinction between QA and QC? Or, does QA, by definition, go beyond that scope? Does QA, by its very nature, extend beyond what the company is doing for a client (ultimately a product or service) and extend into improvement of the company itself?

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    QA must drive forward continuous improvement within the company itself. The best QA groups solicit suggestions, draw on industry best practice, monitor how effective the processes are, identifies weaknesses (and strengths) and goes through the improvement cycle of:
    Where are we -> Where do we want to be -> How do we get there -> Implement improvement -> measure improvement -> Where are we

    I don't see QC being a part of that (the DRIVING part) any more than any other group within a company.

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    Re: FAQ:: QA vs. QC

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by jgottlieb:
    Charles says:
    Does the scope of software QA or engineering QA reduce the distinction between QA and QC? Or, does QA, by definition, go beyond that scope? Does QA, by its very nature, extend beyond what the company is doing for a client (ultimately a product or service) and extend into improvement of the company itself?

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Short answer: yes.

    Phillippe Kruchten, in The Rational Unified Process: An Introduction, describes two types of quality to be measured: product quality and process quality.

    My understanding is that QC is concerned with product quality, while QA is concerned with process quality. Kruchten states, "Quality is everyone's responsibility. For this reason, there is no Worker: Quality Engineer in the Rational Unified Process. Everyone shares in the responsibility..." Therefore, as I see it, QA workers are outside of the process, monitoring the project/product workers' conformance to the established processes and continually measuring/analyzing those processes.

    Remember though that individual people can fulfill more than one "worker" role, so a person can be both a Test Engineer (QC) and a Quality Engineer (QA) (or a Software Engineer and a Quality Engineer, etc.). So, while it is often the case, especially in small or immature companies, for the same person to fulfill both QA and QC roles, it does not mean that QC is part of QA (IMO).


    ------------------
    Charles Reace

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    web site | [url=http://www.ebookworm.us/[/url]

    [i]...Sound trumpets! Every trumpet in the host! / Sixty thousand, on these words, sound, so high the mountains sound, and the valleys resound.&lt;/i] (The Song of Roland)

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    Re: FAQ:: QA vs. QC

    Well, to be consistent with this, we all have to answer this in relation to the definitions that we had given previously. So let us consider what you ask:

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by jgottlieb:
    How is one different from the other?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    QC is essentially an effort, as I said in the post on Quality Control, to find the defects in a given product by a monitoring, audit and assessment process. (That last part is key and can distinguish strict QC from strict QT.) QA is a pattern of actions that have wider scope than QC because the idea is, as I stated in the post on Quality Assurance, the optimization of productivity, the optimization of communication, and the optimization of value within a business. Much of this will be done via the measuring of attributes and properties of a product within a given context. The nature of that measuring will be manifested as quality control practices that can, to a large extent, be defined by QA practices. QA is a systematic pattern of assuring (not ensuring) quality. QC is one means of doing just that. Also note from my other posts that this is why I make a distinction, strictly speaking, between QA, QC, and QT. However, it also pays to note that it is a phyrric victory at best to adumbrate these distinctions unnecessarily since they are, in fact, subsets of the idea of quality assurance.

    The question then becomes can QC exist without a strict QA process. It depends on how much you want to apply Platonic ideals to your definitions. In an average discussion: yes, QC can exist without QA. Why? Because you can monitor and assess (which is what QC does) without an overriding QA. However, if you define QC such that it, by necessity, entails some degree of QA then, obviously, you cannot have one without the other. So, to a certain extent, answering this depends on how you define the terms.

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>How are they the same?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Well, if they are different then, ipso facto, they are not the same. The fact that we distinguish between QA and QC says they are not the same. If they were, why have two terms? They are conceptually similar (not the same) in that both have the goal of improving the end result (i.e., overall quality) of a given product or system that produces a product. However the scope of both is vastly different in terms of how it goes about improving the end result. Again, a crucial distinction.

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Is QA a subset of QC...or the other way around?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I would maintain that it is most assuredly the case that QC is a subset of QA. And this is certainly the case rather than the reverse - QA being a subset of QC. Again, however, it can depend on how you define the terms. In any event, remember the equation that I quoted in the post on Quality Control:

    QA = f(QC + Qau + Qas)

    That shows that QC is, in fact, a function of QA. And, to be sure, that is not just my equation: it is a standard equation (in engineering circles anyway) for QA. Granted, many software professionals do not adhere to the standard but it is valid nevertheless.

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