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QA Vs Testing: What’s The Difference?
Although equally important, they are two unique processes for measuring and achieving product quality. So, what are the key differences between quality assurance (QA) and software testing?

The Cost of Poor Quality (COPQ) is estimated to be between 20% and 30% of the IT industry’s total revenue. Furthermore, the average cost of fixing a software defect after its release is 100 times higher than fixing it during development.

Sadly, hitting snags within a software development project is a harsh reality for most IT project teams, so you must take the right steps to spot issues early and fix them before they make a full impact.

That is one of the reasons why 70% of organisations recognise the role of QA and testing as critical for handling business disruptions.

Although equally important, they are two unique processes for measuring and achieving product quality. So, what are the key differences between quality assurance (QA) and software testing?


Quality Assurance Vs Software Testing

"Quality assurance (QA) is any systematic process of determining whether a product or service meets specified requirements." (TechTarget)
"Software testing is the process of assessing the functionality of a software program. The process checks for errors and gaps and whether the outcome of the application matches desired expectations before the software is installed and goes live." (TechTarget)


How Do They Differ In Practice?

While the terms are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences between quality assurance and testing:

When They're Used:

  • QA is used from the start of the project to the end of the development lifecycle and proactively prevents bugs, issues and low standards of quality.
  • Software testing is deployed after building the solution to detect and fix errors from the development stage.


  • Quality Assurance focuses on how to make a system better and how to optimise the processes.
  • Software testing uses different tools and techniques (such as automated testing) to ensure the software works as it should and is free of bugs or errors. They also verify that the system still performs as it should when subject to heavy usage and different conditions.


  • Quality Assurance involves defining quality standards, establishing processes, conducting audits and evaluating how staff and the product adhere to quality standards.
  • Software testing ensures the software meets functional and non-functional requirements by creating test plans, designing test cases and scenarios, executing tests, reporting bugs and validating the fixes.


The best way to understand the differenced in roles is to break them down individually:

Software Testing

Briefly explained, software testing is a process that ensures an application or website works as expected and is free of errors or bugs.

Software testing encompasses a range of testing types, including automated and manual testing.

Automated testing utilises applications (e.g. Cypress, Cucumber) to perform a series of tests automatically without human intervention. The benefits of test automation are the speed and delivery of the tests.

Manual testing is a process where the test cases are executed manually, simulating the behaviour of a real user to identify bugs, errors or non-usability.

Ultimately, testing is a form of quality control as it is one of the different ways to ensure quality in the final product.


Quality Assurance

With 56% of defects coming from the design (requirement) stage, measures must be put in place from the start of the project to prevent that from happening.

Quality Assurance (QA) is a set of methodical strategies for ensuring the system's performance, features and reliability match the expected quality. QA is deployed from the very beginning of the project to proactively prevent bugs from occurring during development.

It spans the whole development lifecycle and focuses on improving the software and optimising processes, as opposed to testing, which uses different testing tools and techniques to detect and fix errors.


QA & Testing Why You Need Both

Effectively, software testing is one of the strategies a QA uses to ensure product quality. Even though their names are used interchangeably, they must work side-by-side.

The cost of poor quality in software development is huge. That’s even more worrying when you add that to the claim that 70% of IT projects fail.

Even though they are distinctly different, one is reliant on the other. A good quality assurance strategy incorporates thorough software testing, while software testing relies on a strong quality assurance strategy for its testing to be effective and to hold all project stakeholders to account.


Find Out More About Quality Assurance

PSP is a technology partner with over 15 years of experience delivering software testing and quality assurance services.

To find out more about software testing and quality assurance, visit our service pages:

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19th April 2024