Quality Control What It Is and How It Works

Quality Control: What It Is and How It Works?

When you start working on building a software product, you do not only have to focus on the requirements but also on the quality of the product and if it meets the specifications of certain protocols or policies. This is why Quality control is used. 

What Is Quality Control (QC)?

Quality control (QC) is a process that is implemented to ensure the quality and performance of the software are consistent. The primary goal of quality control is to identify any defects that could potentially compromise the final product’s integrity, reliability, and safety.

Why is QC Needed?

Quality standards are of utmost importance. Satisfied customers are more likely to become repeat buyers and recommend the brand to others, contributing to business growth. Thus, the main point of using quality control is customer satisfaction. 

There are many other factors that contribute to the success of a product, like brand reputation, cost savings, as the detection of issues in the product will be carried out early on, thus reducing possible failures in the future. These points, in turn, yield in competitive advantage in the market. 

Why Is Quality Control Important?

The reason why we emphasize so much on the quality of a product in the software industry is due to various reasons like product safety, supplier relationships, improvement of the product leading to ongoing enhancements and better customer satisfaction, and meeting diverse customer needs.

Key Components of Quality Control

Quality control in software development consists of a few key components that act as the guiding principles for developers and testers. These components are crucial to establish, maintain, and improve the quality of products and processes within an organization.:

Standards and Guidelines: Establishing clear quality standards and guidelines that define what constitutes a quality product or process.

Inspection and Testing: Regularly inspect and test products/processes to ensure they meet the established standards.

Quality Assurance: Implement proactive processes and practices to prevent defects and ensure quality throughout the development lifecycle.

Documentation: Maintain comprehensive records of processes, standards, and test results to facilitate accountability and continuous improvement.

Feedback and Corrective Action: Solicit feedback from stakeholders to identify issues and take corrective actions to address any deficiencies.

Training and Education: Provide ongoing training and education to staff to ensure they understand and adhere to quality standards and practices.

Continuous Improvement: Establish a culture of continuous improvement to enhance quality over time and remain adaptable to changing needs and expectations.

What Are the 4 Types of Quality Control?

Supplier Quality Control

It focuses on ensuring that the materials, components, and services meet the organization’s quality standards and specifications. It is important when an organization relies on external sources for materials used in the products. By maintaining control over the quality of inputs, organizations can improve the overall quality of their end products or services.

Quality Assurance (QA)

It focuses on preventing defects from occurring in the first place. It involves establishing and implementing quality standards, procedures, and processes throughout the entire product development or service delivery lifecycle.

Quality Inspection and Testing

This type of quality control involves physically inspecting and testing products to ensure they meet the standards of QC. The goal is to identify defects, deviations, or inconsistencies that could compromise quality. This type of quality control often occurs at various stages of production or service delivery.

Quality Improvement

Quality improvement is an ongoing process that aims to enhance processes, products, and services over time. It involves analyzing data, identifying areas for improvement, implementing changes, and monitoring the impact of those changes. Quality improvement methods, such as Six Sigma, Lean, and Continuous Improvement, are used to systematically address the root causes of issues.

Types of Quality Control Methods

In order to properly analyze how our product abides by the software quality, we need to understand when to use respective methods of QC. So let’s dive right in.

There are five methods through which quality control is measured:

  1. Statistical Quality control
  2. Inspection-based quality control
  3. Testing-based quality control
  4. Process-based quality control
  5. Customer-based quality control
  6. ISO standards control

Statistical Quality Control (SQC)

Statistical Process Control (SPC): Involves monitoring and controlling a production process using statistics to make sure it remains within specified quality limits. Control charts and statistical analysis are used to detect deviations from the norm.

Design of Experiments (DOE): Involves planning and conducting controlled experiments to identify factors that affect product quality and optimize production processes.

Inspection-Based Quality Control:

Visual Inspection: This involves examining products for any visual defects or imperfections. 

Dimensional Inspection: Focuses on verifying that products meet specific size and dimensional requirements.

Non-destructive Testing (NDT): Uses techniques such as X-rays, and magnetic particle inspection to detect internal defects without damaging the product. Read all about Destructive Testing.

Testing-Based Quality Control

Functional Testing: This involves testing a product’s functionality and performance against predefined specifications. For instance, testing electronic devices to ensure they work as expected.

Reliability Testing: Tests products under various conditions to evaluate their durability and lifespan.

Material Testing: Involves analyzing the physical and chemical properties of materials to ensure they meet quality standards.

Process-Based Quality Control:

Total Quality Management: Focuses on continuous process improvement, employee involvement, and customer satisfaction. TQM aims to integrate quality into every aspect of an organization’s operations.

Six Sigma: A data-driven approach that seeks to identify and eliminate defects and variations in processes, aiming for near-perfect quality.

Lean Manufacturing: Aims to minimize waste and improve efficiency by optimizing processes and reducing unnecessary steps.

Customer-Oriented Quality Control:

Feedback: Gather feedback from customers to identify areas for improvement and align products with customer needs.

Surveys: Conduct surveys to gauge customer satisfaction and gather insights into product performance.

ISO Standards and Certifications:

ISO 9001: Provides a framework for implementing a quality management system to enhance customer satisfaction and continuous improvement.

ISO 14001: Focuses on environmental management and sustainability, ensuring products are produced with minimal negative environmental impact.

How Quality Control is Done?

Quality control is achieved using a number of methodologies. 

Firstly, Establishing standards. When we want to do an analysis of how good a software product is, we need to define what quality points we are looking for. So this is the first and foremost step you need to do in order to start with the QC process. Then, you need to perform an initial inspection to ensure the standards you created are incorporated into the production.

Once the testing is done, you need to monitor production in various stages to identify any kind of deviations apart from what’s defined in the standards for software quality. Randomly select a representative sample from a production batch and assess their quality, and then various testing procedures(QA) need to be done for a thorough analysis. When defects are identified, conduct root cause analysis to determine the underlying reasons for the issues. This helps prevent similar problems from occurring in the future.

What Are 3 Examples of Quality Control?

Using control charts 

This is to better visualize the trends and standards in the market and if your product meets the requirements or not. For example, in manufacturing, a control chart can track the dimensions of a product to ensure they remain within specified tolerances. If the measurements start to deviate from the range, it signals a need for investigation and potential corrective action.

Inspection and testing

For instance, in the food industry, products are regularly inspected for factors like taste, appearance, texture, and safety. In electronics manufacturing, products may undergo functional tests to ensure they operate correctly. Inspection and testing help catch defects and deviations early in the production process, preventing substandard products from reaching customers.

Quality management

For instance, a company implementing TQM(Test Quality Management) might regularly gather feedback from customers, analyze performance data, and involve employees in process improvement initiatives. TQM aims to create a culture of quality excellence throughout the organization.

Benefits of Quality Control

Quality control is a fundamental aspect of software development that brings a multitude of advantages. From enhancing product quality and customer satisfaction to reducing costs and mitigating risks, the benefits of quality control are substantial. Here are some of the benefits it brings for the businesses:

  • Quality control helps identify and rectify defects and issues in software, resulting in a higher-quality product.
  • Early defect detection in quality control prevents issues and reduces the resolution cost.
  • It helps adhere to industry standards and regulatory requirements.
  • It streamlines the development process by preventing rework and wasted effort.
  • Quality control ensures consistency in product performance and user experience.
  • It allows teams to focus on value-added tasks rather than dealing with recurring defects.
  • Following the right quality control process makes high-quality software that can be a competitive differentiator in the market.
  • Quality control promotes a culture of continuous improvement and learning within the development team.

Role of Test Automation in Quality Control

Test automation enhances the testing experience of a product. It lets us focus more on the things that matter and leaves the repetitive tasks to the system. Test automation ensures that the tests are done accurately and rapidly. It also ensures consistency in the test results or the reports that are generated and ensure the test team analyzes efficiently. 

Automated tests are particularly useful for performing regression testing. When new code changes are introduced, automated tests can quickly validate that existing functionality remains unaffected by these changes, helping to prevent unintended side effects. Automated tests can be integrated into CI/CD pipelines, allowing tests to run automatically whenever new code is committed.


What Test Automation Tools to Use and When?

Testsigma: Testsigma is a test automation platform that aims to simplify and accelerate the process of creating and executing automated tests. It is used for automating web application tests, cross-browser Tests, regression and API tests. It can be used in all kinds of scenarios of testing from small scaled to large scaled applications

Selenium: Selenium is a widely used open-source automation framework for web applications. It supports multiple programming languages and browsers, making it versatile for cross-browser testing. Selenium is best suited for automating functional and regression tests of web applications. Its extensibility allows testers to customize tests and integrate with various testing frameworks.

TestComplete: It is a commercial automation tool that supports both desktop and web application testing. It offers a wide range of testing capabilities, including functional, regression, and load testing. It should be used during QA analysis of a full stacked application in an enterprise environment.

Conclusions

Quality control is essential testing to be performed during the development and deployment stages to ensure that the requirements of customers are met accurately without compromising the quality of products according to the standards defined.

What is the difference between QA and QC? QA is Quality analysis which is majorly used for analyzing the quality of a product on a requirement basis and doesn’t have any strict protocols whereas QC which is Quality Control runs standardized protocols. Why QC is important? As discussed earlier, QC ensures you abide by standardized procedures and protocols defined for products to meet customer expectations.

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