Firstly, I would like to presume that you have read about “what is QA/QC” in our article “Quality Assurance vs. Quality Control.” Quality Assurance can be quite a confusing subject. We often receive questions about our QA processes when we acquire new customers. Therefore, in this post, we are going to look through some of the FAQ’s that arise when talking about Quality Assurance (QA).
Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort. – John Ruskin
QA testing: “The activity of ensuring that processes set out are followed correctly and updated regularly to achieve the required standards.”
The dictionary definition of Quality Assurance is pretty self-explanatory. However, we will look into how quality management systems can improve your entire process through various testing tools to produce a high-quality end product every time, no matter what it is.
Quality assurance is a development process using a testing process to ensure product quality meets whatever quality requirements you and your business have. ISO 9001 (part of the ISO 9000 set) is the only international standard that requires quality control to be specific, no matter what industry you work with.
However, generally speaking, QA testing is as individual as your business and the customers you serve. Therefore, the testing activities will need to change based on the end-users requirements and quality benchmarks you set for yourself.
The entire development process is never-ending. You need to constantly review your product design, and have a deep understanding of how your customers use the end product.
We use the abbreviation of PDCA to describe the development cycle of Quality Assurance testing:
Plan, Do. Check, Adjust.
QA testing is a full circle operation. It only has one beginning, and hopefully, no end. The start must be when you start your business, and from there on, it must be an engagement of continuous improvement matching your standards for quality to customer requirements.
A QA tester is the person that completes the steps set out above. Therefore, it is their job to create process improvements, performance testing, accessibility testing, and defect management. Furthermore, they tasked with the assurance that the process to be completed is in the correct position on a sliding scale of quality.
That scale is: Slow and expensive – Fast and cheap. Basically, the better the service is, whether that is a physical production of an item or rectification of a query, the slower it will be. On the other hand, you will probably be able to complete both of these things very fast, but the product or service will undoubtedly suffer.
Neither of the above examples is ideal. As a result, it is up to the QA Tester to find out where a process should be on that sliding scale.
Quality Engineers work closely with the QA Testers. Trained to set metrics for quality measurements, they create well-performing production processes and conform to reporting requirements in place to assess the development of the product. However, as pointed out above, that does not have to mean that it is a physical product.
A QA Engineer is often a quality testing developer and will devise the best plans for the company to get their system working to the optimal position on the sliding scale and to implement the plan.
That can include testing software, the quality of products, correcting scripts, etc. Anything that requires a high-quality product can come under the responsibility of a QA Engineer.
A Quality Manager is precisely that; they manage the quality process. It is the Quality Manager who is overall responsible for the quality standards. Therefore, it is to them who the Testers and Engineers must report. The QA Manager will oversee a wide range of activities within the quality assurance process. Right from the concepts of quality, acceptance criteria, quality improvement, and anything else that affects the end-user experience.
They have policies and ISO standards to uphold, and they do that through the oversight of the testing team in charge of all quality control activities.
The quality assurance methods that they use will depend on the process used, and the ideal quality to be achieved. They will often complete their quality control with the help of design documents, statistical process controls, and various testing tools.
An example of a functional quality control test is to test the user experience without feedback from an actual customer. It may look something like this:
Firstly, the Quality Manager employs a mystery shopper to call a call center. The “mystery shopper” gets briefed with questions and responses to give to any queues given by the operative. At this point, implementation of the original plan has already begun, and this is the do stage.
Secondly, the QA Tester will look through the data provided from the call and liaise with the QA Engineer. Did they follow their script? Did the agent make any mistakes? What would the mindset of a customer be like? Did they follow all of the company policies? Etc. Hence, this is the check stage.
Thirdly, the quality management Tester, Engineer, and Manager will act on the information. That will be with the end goal of increasing the user experience through quality improvement and performance testing of each stage.
Finally, any adjustments required get incorporated into the original plan, and a new, standardized process issued to everyone involved.
This system of PDCA is and should be in constant use. However, it is not used to catch individuals out; it is to catch out the faults in processes and rectify them.
Quality Assurance can, and will, help any business at all. By keeping track of all aspects of your process, from initial customer contact, right through to customer satisfaction, it will ensure a standard of quality that everyone will expect. When customers return to you for your service again, they will expect this same level of quality. It is QA that will provide that and ensure that the customers will return. Not only will they return, but they will also spread the word about your service, which, in turn, will provide you with new customers.
As you can see from the above: QA should always be being used. It must be a constant thing. You may have gotten this far and thought, wait a minute, this is QC. You would be correct, to a point. As I showed in the last article, QA and QC need to go hand in hand. You need one for the other to work and vice versa. The two of them also need to work in conjunction with each other, and both to the same standards.
The Quality Assurance responsibility will ultimately fall on the Quality Managers. However, it is the staff who must implement the processes set out for them. If they are not able to follow the issued system of work for whatever reason, then they must report to the Quality Manager so that they can address the issue.
So, what is QA? In the time of the requirement for constant contact with the customer, QA is an assurance that the customer will receive continuous, high-quality services. This assurance gets regulated by continual monitoring of all systems and processes that are used to complete that service.
Quality Assurance is provided by the employees that are in direct contact with the customer, but it gets regulated by the team of QA Testers, Engineers, and Managers. Although, there are independent companies that can carry this out for you. That is where Call Criteria comes in. We offer a full package. We provide all of our call center staff with continuous train, and their requirements are updated regularly.
Use our contact us page to get in touch and find out more.