Quality Assurance (QA) and testing go hand in hand, but does that always mean they are the same? No, they have similar meanings, but have significant functions within the lifecycle of a project. Quality Assurance is actually the management of the overall Quality process, where the tester makes up one part of the process.
The QA role is to stick with the project from start to finish, always being there as a resource for the team, as well as understanding requirements and verifying that they will not cause any major issues within the product being developed. The QA is also responsible in creating and updating any test plans/scripts that may be needed for the testing phase.
Once the product has been developed, it is placed into a QA environment for assessment and testing. Here is where your tester really starts to get involved. The tester's main responsibility is to follow through the test plan and verify that all of the outcomes are as expected. When the cases are not matching, the tester’s first responsibility is to retrace the steps and record all of the valid information for the developer. Recording the information in QA terms is being able to reproduce the issue and provide those exact steps and outcomes to the developer.
While QA is more of a blanket statement for the delivery of quality goods, the tester is one of the most important pieces to the process. Without them, the products may be delivered with several flaws causing warrantied work or loss in budget because of re-work. Testers, by far, are no longer just button pushers in today's software world.
Michael Hollinger, Senior QA Specialist
With over 12 years of experience in the software development industry, Michael brings a wealth of experience having been a quality assurance analyst, lead, and manager, building and leading QA teams that utilize both manual and automated testing techniques. He has worked on various eCommerce, credit reporting and content management projects and clients, the most recent being Playboy Enterprises where he was the QA Lead for the redesign of the Playboy website and other signature websites, as well as their billing and subscription systems.