Quality assurance (QA) is one of the final and most important steps of any product roadmap. Used in a variety of industries, including software development and construction, quality assurance verifies that a product or service is of the highest quality, which is an integral process for any company. In this article, we’ll explain the basic premise behind what quality assurance is and why it is important. Keep reading to discover how Wrike can be used as a tool for quality assurance.
What does QA stand for?
QA stands for quality assurance. It refers to the process or actions taken to ensure a product meets all of its requirements. Quality assurance is often used to track compliance and maintain consistent product management output over time. This is accomplished by ensuring that each step of the production process is thoroughly inspected and refined.
The main benefits of QA include gaining a customer's satisfaction and confidence. This leads to higher sales and better customer loyalty over time.
Quality assurance processes have become so critical that many companies have created their own dedicated department. You may also hear of a quality assurance system referred to as a quality management system.
How is quality assurance used in project management?
Quality assurance is used in project management to help companies avoid making mistakes and to minimize potential risks. With quality assurance in mind, project managers can start planning for the quality of their deliverables from the very beginning of their project plans.
Doing so will highlight areas where they can improve their work, increase efficiency, and hold their team accountable. Not only does this strengthen a brand’s reputation, but it also cuts down on the potential exponential costs associated with fixing QA issues down the line.
Quality assurance can be completed at any stage of the project process. It can begin with establishing a quality framework for the hiring process so that only the best, most compatible talent is brought on. After that, teams can perform self-checks to ensure that your work is conducted according to predefined standards.
Regular QA monitoring can be built into project plans with other departments, or third-party entities can easily be looped in to give approvals. After a product has gone to market, teams can further track its quality by receiving customer feedback and implementing changes as needed.
All of these quality assurance tasks can be organized and executed through proper product management. In fact, without a proper project management tool and strategy in place, companies are even more vulnerable to QA issues. For quality assurance issue prevention and resolution, having a clear understanding of what’s going on at all times is essential.
What are the three types of quality assurance methods?
There are three types of quality assurance methods that project teams commonly use. These methods can vary depending on the requirements of the company; however, you can count on using at least one of the following during the process:
- Statistical process control
- Failure testing
- Total quality management
Statistical Process Control
Statistical process control (SPC) is most often used for developing products with technology and/or chemistry involved. This can include everything from consumables to cleaning supplies to software. The SPC method monitors ongoing progress through charts and strives for continuous improvement.
The steps involved in this quality assurance method include discovery, investigation, prioritization, further analysis, and charting. This can be done internally using project data, team input, and studies conducted by QA and operations teams. Decisions are based on facts and figures and will likely follow the scientific method approach.
Failure testing is commonly used to test physical or virtual products.
For physical products, that means whether the product will break down under pressure or in various usability scenarios. For example, crash testing a vehicle’s safety airbags would be considered failure testing.
For virtual products, failure testing focuses on a program’s resiliency against a number of possible high-stress scenarios. Issues such as cybersecurity and transaction capacity are all evaluated.
Overall, failure testing aims to assess a prototype or finished product and decide if it’s ready to go to market.
Total Quality Management
The total quality management (TQM) method aims to continuously improve products by using quantitative methods. Practically speaking, it helps build a process that is consistent and predictable. It does so using a variety of modules that help manage the various phases of a project.
TQM also supports teams by relying on data and analysis to plan and implement future updates. It’s most popular for improving assembly-line efficiency.
Regardless of which quality assurance method you use, having an execution plan is very important. It will help you keep track of all of the steps involved in the QA process as they happen. Teams can also track improvements over time and study trends as they progress.
What is quality control in project management?
Quality control is a process that involves inspecting, testing, and reporting outputs to ensure that they meet the requirements of the project. In order to achieve the highest possible level of conformance, decisions need to be made in all phases of quality control.
Projects involve a wide variety of tasks and processes that are often subject to various forms of quality control. The project manager will typically always agree to follow quality control measures but having input from internal or external QA experts is a great idea too.
Quality assurance and quality control are sometimes used interchangeably. However, they are distinctly different.
Quality assurance vs. quality control
Quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) are part of a quality system, along with other elements such as goals and procedures. Quality assurance typically covers all elements of a quality system, while quality control is a smaller subset. In other words, while QA sees the big picture (process), QC focuses on the details (finished products).
Quality assurance examples
Quality assurance examples can be found in many different forms across all industries. They can happen in businesses both large and small, and the issues they aim to solve or prevent may be identified by internal teams, external partners, or even their very own customer base. Here are some general examples to help illustrate what quality assurance looks like:
- Running cybersecurity tests on a user portal after a breach was exposed
- Revamping a car manufacturing process to better suit new safety standards
- Changing fabric suppliers after discovering that dresses aren’t reacting to dye as well as they did weeks before
- Designing a new bumper after data suggests its current design to be the cause of higher flat tire rates
- Weeding out possible vat issues after receiving complaints from customers that their granola bars made buyers sick
As you can see, quality assurance plays an important role in a company’s overall success. From protecting customer health and private information to assuring that your brand image is consistent, these examples prove that QA is a non-negotiable asset for any company.
How to use Wrike during the quality assurance process
Wrike’s product management tools help you manage all your quality assurance activities in one place. Using our tool, managers can accelerate product launches through automation and go-to-market faster without sacrificing quality. Wrike does all of this using features such as templates and cross-functional team communication tools.
Wrike offers pre-made templates designed by and for experts in your industry to ensure that you capture all the essential steps in every project. This lays a strong foundation for high-quality and consistent output.
Wrike also allows users to create their own process templates. Once an issue is discovered, teams can easily implement a custom QA solution template into their existing project plans and take action that much faster.
Whether you’re responding to an issue or monitoring to ensure one doesn’t come up, a project management solution that offers cross-functional team communication tools is a must-have for quality assurance. Wrike does this through several features. First, Wrike offers improved visibility into real-time reports through dashboards, charts, and detailed task views.
Second, Wrike allows teams to involve everyone in the conversation. This happens through integration with third-party communication apps so that all discussion is organized no matter where it takes place. It also is made possible through secure project plan access to outside partners who need to view and approve of plans.
Even within the program itself, teams can easily view succinct dashboards that outline where they are, what they have to do, and where the project is going. Team members can easily get one another up to speed on QA issues by pinpointing which tasks went wrong and reviewing in-task discussions to get a better understanding of the event.
Get quality assurance discussions started across multiple departments and countries with our easy-to-use project management software. Start Wrike’s free trial to get better insight into your own processes now.