What is Software Quality Assurance?
Software Quality Assurance (SQA) is essential to every software development project. It all comes down to ensuring that the software created meets and complies with stated or standardised quality criteria. It is a systematic approach that examines multiple software engineering processes to maintain quality. Quality Assurance (QA) includes the entire software development lifecycle and collaborates with all business operations.

In this guide, we’ll explain what software quality assurance means, describe why it is distinct from testing, outline QA specialists' role in the software development lifecycle, why it’s essential, and its best practices.

By the end of this article, you will most certainly agree that quality assurance is one of the most important activities in the software development pipeline.

Table of Contents

Understanding Software Quality Assurance
Difference Between QA and Testing
Role of QA in SDLC
Typical Activities of a QA Specialist
Who is in Charge of SQA?
The Software Quality Assurance Process
Benefits of SQA
SQA Challenges
Impact of Automation on SQA
The Future of Software Quality Assurance

Understanding Software Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance is crucial in the software development lifecycle (SDLC). It is more than just testing the software program; it is about exceeding the customer's expectations and ensuring the software is error-free. It is about knowing that the procedures and processes employed to generate the project will result in a high-quality finished output. SQA is concerned with the Software Development Process to prevent faults rather than detect and resolve them.

You should note that Quality Assurance is required in all businesses since it is essential: it protects data integrity and overall software functionality. Correct data management can make or destroy a project in every business, from healthcare to finance.

We focus on Quality Assurance due to its significant role in business productivity. Poor software quality costs US organisations more than $2.41 trillion, according to the 2022 CISQ Report. These costs result from production issues such as corrective maintenance, wasted work, failed projects, and so on.

Difference Between QA and Testing

SQA and testing are both critical components of the software development process. They are not, however, the same.

Quality assurance is a proactive procedure that begins before the development process. It focuses on optimising the software development process to ensure high-quality software. The goal is to optimise development and testing procedures to avoid problems from occurring. Quality Control ensures that we are doing the right things correctly.

Testing, on the other hand, is a corrective process. A subset of QA activities is used to check that the code and system work as intended and that the criteria are met. It is concerned with locating issues and errors in the system throughout the development process.

According to a Capgemini survey, 44% of IT workers consider testing a critical activity for ensuring project quality output. This demonstrates that, while testing is necessary, it is only one component of the quality assurance process.

Role of QA in SDLC

Every stage of the Software Development Lifecycle incorporates quality assurance. The primary purpose of QA in SDLC is to improve the development process so that faults are recognised and corrected early on, saving money and time.

A diagram titled "SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT LIFECYCLE" illustrating the six phases of software development

QA collaborates with business analysts throughout the requirements phase to verify that the requirements are clear, concise, and tested. In the design phase, QA reviews designs and mock-ups to issue preventive measures, ensuring the design is sound before moving into development. According to IBM research, repairing an error discovered after product introduction might cost up to 200 times more than fixing it during the design process.

During the development phase, QA creates and executes test cases based on the requirements, helping catch and fix issues before they become too severe.

Flowchart showing the role of a quality assurance in the SDLC

Typical Activities of a QA Specialist

A QA Specialist is responsible for a variety of duties related to the software development process. A QA specialist's responsibilities range from planning to completion and include the following:

  • Quality Assurance: The process of keeping track of the software engineering procedures and methods used to ensure quality. This entails process-oriented operations to prevent defects by focusing on the manufacturing process.

  • Quality Control: Product-oriented and entails examining and verifying that the product satisfies all specifications. A QA analyst thoroughly evaluates the product's requirements, designs, and development.

  • Testing: Executing the software to find flaws and ensure everything functions properly before delivery. Software errors can be responsible for system outages, emphasising the significance of effective product testing.

Who is in Charge of SQA?

Although professionals such as Quality Assurance Engineers and Testers are essential in ensuring software quality, everyone is responsible for quality in the most effective teams. This includes developers, product managers, and even stakeholders.

Indeed, current QA practices support a 'Quality Assistance' position in which the focus shifts from discovering defects to preventing them. The notion is that a shared ownership approach leads to better software development since developers take responsibility for Quality Assurance and collaborate closely with dedicated QA professionals to ensure they follow the best practices.

Because of this overlap and shared responsibility between roles, DevOps, a methodology that fosters a strong cooperation mindset for greater software quality, has grown in popularity. According to the Puppet Labs State of DevOps Report, high-performing IT organisations have 60 times fewer failures and recover from failure 168 times faster than their lower-performing peers, demonstrating the importance of shared ownership for software quality.

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The Software Quality Assurance Process

Several stages comprise the Software Quality Assurance process, which aids in shaping and controlling the quality of a software product throughout the development process. These are the stages:

  • Quality Planning: Establishing quality management practices, identifying relevant standards, developing a plan, and choosing software assurance tools and procedures.

  • Process Control and Monitoring: QA specialists monitor software engineering processes throughout this stage to ensure they adhere to agreed-upon policies and procedures.

  • Quality Evaluations: QA specialists perform evaluations to guarantee that the programme satisfies set quality requirements. It includes going over requirements, design, code, and documentation.

  • Training: It is critical to provide relevant training to team members. According to the Project Management Institute, 91% of high-performing organisations prioritise employee training since it helps to maintain best practices and keeps software quality.

  • Auditing: Internal and external audits ensure that agreed-upon standards are met and processes successfully sustain quality.

  • Continuous Improvement: QA specialists continuously analyse feedback and performance metrics to enhance processes and quality.

Benefits of SQA

Putting software into action Quality assurance provides advantages beyond simply producing the highest-quality product possible. Among these advantages are:

  • Customer Satisfaction: Businesses can improve their reputation by providing high-quality products to their customers. Satisfied customers are more inclined to do additional business with a company.

  • Cost Savings: Identifying and correcting problems early in the development process lowers the overall development cost. According to IBM Systems Sciences Institute, "the cost of fixing a bug discovered during implementation is 15 times higher than the cost of design."

  • Time Optimisation: Efficient QA methods accelerate development by reducing the amount of errors that must be corrected, saving significant time.

  • Better Collaboration: Involving everyone in the QA process develops a collaborative and shared responsibility culture, which can lead to better software outcomes.

SQA Challenges

Despite its advantages, establishing Software Quality Assurance can be challenging:

  • Adopting Changes: Introducing new QA methodologies necessitates firms adapting and embracing new processes. Management and team members must be willing to learn and follow new procedures.

  • Technological Advancements: Because technology continually evolves, organisations must stay current on new tools and technologies to retain QA effectiveness.

  • Constraints on Resources: QA implementation can require a significant investment in time and resources to guarantee that staff is appropriately trained and equipped.

  • Cultural Resistance: There may be resistance in some organisations to assuming responsibility for quality across all areas. It is critical to overcome this hurdle to apply quality assurance successfully practises.

Impact of Automation on SQA

Automation is dramatically altering the landscape of Software Quality Assurance. Automated testing frameworks and technologies are increasingly required to keep up with the rapid pace of Agile and DevOps techniques.

Automation allows repetitive operations to be completed without manual intervention, considerably lowering the time and effort required for comprehensive testing.

Benefits of Automation:

  • Increased Efficiency: By automating repetitive operations, teams can focus on more complicated issues that require human analysis.
  • Increased Speed: Automating test cases may be executed many times faster, providing the development team with speedier feedback.
  • Enhanced Accuracy: The results are more accurate because automated testing eliminates human errors and performs precisely.

However, it is crucial to highlight that, despite the power of automation, the function of a human tester remains essential. Automated technologies need more sophisticated analytical abilities of people, and their effectiveness depends on well-written tests. The human aspect in QA will never be completely replaced.

The Future of Software Quality Assurance

Software Quality Assurance is constantly evolving, with a growing emphasis on continuous testing, more AI and Machine Learning usage, and a focus on client experiences.

  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: AI and ML are becoming increasingly important in automating QA tasks such as test suite optimisation and predictive analysis. Many organisations are investigating or integrating artificial intelligence (AI) in their QA and testing processes.

  • Shift Left and Shift Right Testing: This refers to implementing testing early (shift left) and late in the process (shift right) to ensure a comprehensive QA approach. There are claims that "shift left testing" can significantly reduce costs.

  • QAOps: Integrating, automating, and coordinating quality assurance tasks as part of the DevOps process. This practice ensures continuous testing and faster feedback loops. By 2026, the QAOps industry is expected to be worth $16.42 billion.

With these advancements, the future of Software Quality Assurance appears bright as it becomes an ever more important aspect of the software development process. As technology evolves, we should anticipate many more changes and developments in QA practices.


Software Quality Assurance is essential in the software development lifecycle. It guarantees that software development processes are followed correctly and that the end product fulfils quality requirements, which leads to greater customer satisfaction and reputation. Despite some hurdles, implementing SQA can result in long-term benefits such as significant cost reductions and improved team collaboration.

The future of software quality assurance seems bright, with automation and artificial intelligence becoming more common in QA practices. The human element, on the other hand, is irreplaceable. QA specialists play a critical role in managing and maintaining the quality of software products, from planning to ongoing improvement. So it's clear that Software Quality Assurance will remain essential to the software development process.

Do you want to develop software and web applications that have Software Quality Assurance guaranteed to help your company? Or are you interested in having a customised QA plan that meets your business goals and moves you closer to process optimisation? Don't hesitate to get in touch with Imaginary Cloud right away!

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