Testing is NOT Quality Assurance!

07 July 2008

Time after time we see testing referred to as Quality Assurance – indeed I read an article lately that said that the ISTQB definition of testing is essentially quality assurance (IEEE Software July/August 2009 – Reach for Standards, Good Ones by B. Meyer). I find this fascinating as it is one of the key issues that Testers have to address. As far as I am concerned Quality Assurance is a whole of a lifecycle approach. QA is about providing the tools, techniques, training and time to everyone in the SDLC that enables them to do the best job they can. QA is about implementing process and methodologies that allow us to fulfil our roles as best we can. The Business Analyst should have the training that allows them to complete the requirements elicitation and verification to the best of their abilities. The Project Managers should have the tools and the time available for them to facilitate the delivery of the project to the highest standard. The Developers should have the training, tools and environment that enables them to provide the best quality code, and the Testers should have the tools, training, time and techniques available to allow them to test the system to the best of their ability.

QA is the overarching process that applies to everyone. Testing is NOT Quality Assurance. Testing is making sure the system works – does what it is meant to do – and does not do what it is not meant to do (functional). Testing also allows us to assess how well the system works (non-functional). Testing is Quality Assessment! Testers can only “report” on the quality of the system, they cannot “assure” the quality of the system. It is the role of everyone in the SDLC to assure the quality.

Posted by Sharon Robson