What is Software Quality Assurance?

Quality defines to any measurable characteristics such as correctness, maintainability, portability, testability, usability, reliability, efficiency, integrity, reusability, and interoperability.

There are two kinds of Quality:

Quality of Design: Quality of Design refers to the characteristics that designers specify for an item. The grade of materials, tolerances, and performance specifications that all contribute to the quality of design.

Quality of conformance: Quality of conformance is the degree to which the design specifications are followed during manufacturing. Greater the degree of conformance, the higher is the level of quality of conformance.

Software Quality Assurance (SQA) is simply a way to assure quality in the software. It is the set of activities which ensure processes, procedures as well as standards are suitable for the project and implemented correctly.

Software Quality Assurance is a process which works parallel to development of software. It focuses on improving the process of development of software so that problems can be prevented before they become a major issue. Software Quality Assurance is a kind of Umbrella activity that is applied throughout the software process.

Software Quality Assurance has:

A quality management approach

Formal technical reviews

Multi testing strategy

Effective software engineering technology

Measurement and reporting mechanism

Major Software Quality Assurance Activities:

1) Creating an SQA Management Plan:

The foremost activity includes laying down a proper plan regarding how the SQA will be carried out in your project.

Along with what SQA approach you are going to follow, what engineering activities will be carried out, and it also includes ensuring that you have the right talent mix in your team.

2) Setting the Checkpoints:

The SQA team sets up different checkpoints according to which it evaluates the quality of the project activities at each checkpoint/project stage. This ensures regular quality inspection and working as per the schedule.

3) Apply software Engineering Techniques:

Applying some software engineering techniques aids a software designer in achieving high-quality specifications. For gathering information, a designer may use techniques such as interviews and FAST (Functional Analysis System Technique).

Later, based on the information gathered, the software designer can prepare the project estimation using techniques like WBS (work breakdown structure), SLOC (source line of codes), and FP (functional point) estimation.

There are several techniques for SQA. Auditing is the chief technique that is widely adopted. However, we have a few other significant techniques as well.

Various SQA Techniques include:

Auditing: Auditing involves inspection of the work products and its related information to determine if the set of standard processes were followed or not.

Reviewing: A meeting in which the software product is examined by both the internal and external stakeholders to seek their comments and approval.

Code Inspection: It is the most formal kind of review that does static testing to find bugs and avoid defect growth in the later stages. It is done by a trained mediator/peer and is based on rules, checklist, and entry and exit criteria. The reviewer should not be the author of the code.

Design Inspection: Design inspection is done using a checklist that inspects the below areas of software design:

General requirements and design

Functional and Interface specifications


Requirement traceability

Structures and interfaces



Error handling and recovery

Testability, extensibility

Coupling and cohesion

Simulation: A simulation is a tool that models a real-life situation in order to virtually examine the behavior of the system under study.

Functional Testing: It is a QA technique that verifies what the system does without considering how it does it. This type of black box testing mainly focuses on testing the system specifications or features.

Standardization: Standardization plays a crucial role in quality assurance. It decreases the ambiguity and guesswork, thus ensuring quality.

Static Analysis: It is a software analysis that is done by an automated tool without actually executing the program. This technique is highly used for quality assurance in medical, nuclear, and aviation software. Software metrics and reverse engineering are some popular forms of static analysis.

Walkthroughs: A software walkthrough or code walkthrough is a kind of peer review where the developer guides the members of the development team to go through the product and raise queries, suggest alternatives, and make comments regarding possible errors, standard violations, or any other issues.

Path Testing: It is a white box testing technique where the complete branch coverage is ensured by executing each independent path at least once.

Stress Testing: This type of testing is done to check how robust a system is by testing it under heavy load i.e. beyond normal conditions.

Six Sigma: Six Sigma is a quality assurance approach that aims at nearly perfect products or services. It is widely applied in many fields including software. The main objective of six sigma is process improvement so that the produced software is 99.76 % defect-free.

4) Executing Formal Technical Reviews:

An FTR is done to evaluate the quality and design of the prototype.

In this process, a meeting is conducted with the technical staff to discuss the actual quality requirements of the software and the design quality of the prototype. This activity helps in detecting errors in the early phase of SDLC and reduces rework effort in the later phases.

5) Having a Multi-Testing Strategy:

By multi-testing strategy, we mean that one should not rely on any single testing approach, instead, multiple types of testing should be performed so that the software product can be tested well from all angles to ensure better quality.

6) Enforcing Process Adherence:

This activity insists on the need for process adherence during the software development process. The development process should also stick to the defined procedures.

This activity is a blend of two sub-activities which are explained below in detail:

Product Evaluation: This activity confirms that the software product is meeting the requirements that were discovered in the project management plan. It ensures that the set standards for the project are followed correctly.

Process Monitoring: This activity verifies if the correct steps were taken during software development. This is done by matching the actually taken steps against the documented steps.

7) Controlling Change:

This activity is a mix of manual techniques and automated tools to have a mechanism for change control.

By validating the change requests, evaluating the nature of change, and controlling the change effect, it is ensured that the software quality is maintained during the development and maintenance phases.

8) Measure Change Impact:

If any defect is reported by the QA team, then the concerned team fixes the defect.

After this, the QA team should determine the impact of the change which is brought by this defect fix. They need to test not only if the change has fixed the defect, but also if the change is compatible with the whole project.

For this purpose, we use software quality metrics that allow managers and developers to observe the activities and proposed changes from the beginning till the end of SDLC and initiate corrective action wherever required.

9) Performing SQA Audits:

The SQA audit inspects the entire actual SDLC process followed by comparing it against the established process.

It also checks whether whatever was reported by the team in the status reports was actually performed or not. This activity also exposes any non-compliance issues.

10) Maintaining Records and Reports:

It is crucial to keep the necessary documentation related to SQA and share the required SQA information with the stakeholders. The test results, audit results, review reports, change requests documentation, etc. should be kept for future reference.

11) Manage Good Relations:

In fact, it is very important to maintain harmony between the QA and the development team.

We often hear that testers and developers often feel superior to each other. This should be avoided as it can affect the overall project quality.

SQA Techniques


SQA is an umbrella activity that is employed throughout the software lifecycle. Software quality assurance is very important for your software product or service to succeed in the market and survive up to the customer’s expectations. There are various activities, standards, and techniques that you need to follow to assure that the deliverable software is of high quality and aligns closely with the business needs.

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