Quality control is a set of activities for ensuring the quality of software. The entire process is focused on identifying defects in the actual product. By defects, we mean all glitches or bugs, as well as differences from specifications.
Some people believe that quality control just means testing. It doesn’t. Quality control is governed by quality assurance, but it’s oriented towards detection and fulfilling quality requirements. Quality control is the inspection aspect of quality management. In other words, it is a strategy of detection, the final checkpoint before delivery. During the process, you check if there are any defects or bugs in the product or software. If so, you report them so that they can be quickly fixed. Quality control includes the following activities:
- review (design and code review, requirement review, deployment plan review, test plan review, etc.),
- testing (unit testing, integration testing, system testing, acceptance testing).
The main objective of QC is detecting and fixing defects in the actual products, whereas QA focuses on preventing defects by establishing and evaluating the software engineering process. QC is a task for the testing team, implemented during the software testing phase. Quality assurance involves the whole development team and full software development life cycle. QA is completed throughout the process and QC is performed only after QA activities are done. Finally, quality assurance is proactive and Quality control is reactive. Quality control is all about the product—it focuses on the final software or app. Quality assurance is more about the process—it ensures the process of development prevents quality issues.
It is worth mentioning that quality control and quality assurance do not compete—they complement each other as they focus on different sides of software development.
First of all, quality control is a great way to reduce the costs of software development. You use your resources more effectively and you do not have to fix the bugs once the product is delivered to clients. In consequence, customer needs are better satisfied. There are fewer complaints after the product is launched. Thanks to quality control, the testing team learns a lot—revealing errors helps to avoid them in the future. This fosters a quality consciousness in employees—when they know that quality is important to the business and it will be regularly monitored, they will do more to bring quality to their work.