Difference Between Quality Assurance and Quality Control and Their Role in Quality Management

Difference Between Quality Assurance and Quality Control and Their Role in Quality Management

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Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content
Updated on Dec 22, 2022 12:10 IST

The article aims to clear confusion around quality assurance and control, and discusses difference between quality assurance and quality control.


Quality Assurance and Quality Control are two essential components of the overall Quality Management System (QMS), and they are often used interchangeably. However, you must know the difference between quality assurance and quality control since these processes feature some overlap. Elements of the QMS may not be composed explicitly of QA or QC activities and responsibilities, but, instead, involve a combination of the two. 


What is Quality Assurance?

Quality Assurance is a well-organized set of activities implemented in the organization’s quality management system to ensure that the product or service matches quality standards, known as Quality Assurance. 

This planned activity ensures that a developed product or service meets established requirements. It aims to find out the cause of the nonconformity and take corrective measures to eliminate it to increase the quality and ensure one.

Check Out Quality Assurance Online Courses

Quality assurance is not just a process but a complete system that provides the right confidence that the product or service is up to the task.

Some examples are

  • Design and prototypes
  • Version control
  • Configuration management 
  • Customer acceptance and feedback
  • Specification compliance
  • Low percentage of defects
  • Shipping that results in delivery without damage to the products or packaging

Related – The 10 Best Quality Management Resources That You Need To Bookmark Now

What is Quality Control?

Quality Control is a set of planned operating techniques and procedures to meet the quality standards of a product. It helps to detect faults in the product and eliminate them so that they adhere to the quality standards defined by the organization. In the quality control process, there is a need to discover controls for activity in the process, work-in-progress stage inspection, and performance records for feedback.

In this process, all the factors used in product development are considered for review. Once the product is complete, it has to pass the test to reveal its deficiency. After testing, product anomalies are recorded and reported to management, which decides whether to accept or reject the product.

Examples of quality control include:

  • Identification of product defects or errors
  • Compliance with industry standards and regulations
  • Identification of bugs that will be fixed in the next iteration or before the products are released
  • Quality control charts
  • Statistical process control methods like Histograms, Pareto charts, Scatter diagrams and Stratification
  • Total Quality Management (TQM)
  • Lean manufacturing

Do check out software testing courses

Difference between Quality Assurance and Quality Control

Quality Assurance focuses on the processes and procedures that improve product quality, while quality control focuses on finding defects in the product after development. 

Below are some key differences between QS and QC based on different criteria.

Proactive vs. Reactive

Quality assurance is proactive. Its main objective is to prevent errors before they appear to occur. The QA teams must follow Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) based on ISO 9000 standards and ensure the safe and effective operation of developed products every time. 

Quality control is reactive. Performs efficacy and safety tests and seeks to identify errors and defects after the products have been produced.

Also Read – Histogram vs. Bar Graph: What is the Difference?

System vs. Parts

Quality assurance uses control systems comprised of methods and procedures to protect quality standards. For example, a quality control system may dictate that inputs, such as auditing and sampling of batches of raw materials, are consistently safe and effective.

Quality control measures the parts, which can be system outputs or used to create the final product.

Related Know What Makes Quality Management Different From Project Management Today

Process vs. Product

Quality assurance prevents quality issues and is process and action-oriented. Processes include documentation, audits, employee training, and change control.

Therefore, QC tests for quality issues and is product- and customer-oriented. Procedures include lot inspection, laboratory testing, software testing, and validation testing.

Whole team vs. Dedicated team

Quality assurance activities concern the entire team because they cover all aspects of product development. While quality management systems are the domain of quality leadership and team, the activities set training, review, and documentation standards for the workforce.

Quality control is more limited in scope; thus, specialized personnel is responsible for it. These individuals follow SOPs for quality control and documentation based on standardized testing and process validation procedures.

Must Read – Using 7 QC Tools For Quality Improvement and Customer Satisfaction

Comparative Chart

Quality Assurance Quality Control
QA stands for Planning to perform a process. QC Means Action to execute the planned process.
It is a deliberate process to ensure the quality request will be achieved. QC is a process that deliberates on the fulfillment of the quality request.
One goal of QA is to prevent the defect. One goal of QC is to identify and improve defects.
QA is the technique of quality management. QC is a method to check the quality.
Quality control does not imply program execution. Quality control always involves program execution.
All team members are responsible for quality control. The test team is responsible for quality control.
Quality Control Example: Verification Example of quality control: validation.
The statistical technique used in QA is known as statistical process control (SPC). The statistical technique used in QC is known as statistical quality control (SPC).
QA makes sure you’re doing the right thing. QC ensures that the results you have done are what you expected.
QA Defines standards and methodologies to follow to meet customer requirements. QC ensures that standards are followed while working on the product.
QA is the process of creating deliverables. QC is the process of verifying the deliverables.
QA is responsible for the entire software development life cycle. QC is responsible for the software testing life cycle.

Similarities Between QA and QC

Aside from their differences, QA and QC have similarities. 

Ensuring a high-quality product: Quality assurance and quality control are crucial for better quality management. Both aim to identify and eliminate defects and ensure customer satisfaction by delivering a high-quality product.

Following Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): Quality Assurance and Quality Control follow standard policies and procedures established by organizations to ensure and ensure product quality. 

Significantly reduce problems and costs – By detecting and eliminating defects early, the cost of resolving them later can be reduced. Any defect in the product would cost a considerable amount. QA and QC aim to detect and fix problems before allowing them to grow.

Improving development and testing processes: Both provide opportunities for organizations to continually learn and become more effective and efficient in delivering high-quality products. They help teams improve in areas like defect identification, requirements gathering, user experience, etc.

About the Author
Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content

Rashmi is a postgraduate in Biotechnology with a flair for research-oriented work and has an experience of over 13 years in content creation and social media handling. She has a diversified writing portfolio and aim... Read Full Bio