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What is the difference between Quality Assurance and Quality Control?

What is the difference between Quality Assurance and Quality Control?

There are multiple times that you might have come across these terms, Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC). Often you might hear someone mentioning about ‘QA’ but what they actually mean is ‘QC’. Do you know what is the difference between QA & QC ?


Although both concepts fall under quality management, but the focuses of the concepts are entirely different:

  • QC is used to verify the quality of the output,
  • QA is the process of managing for quality.[1]


What is Quality Assurance?

Quality Assurance makes sure you are doing things the right way with the correct process. Whereas, QC focuses more on controlling the product quality and the product is able to meet the requirements, expectation and needs of the customer’s standards without being defected.


Quality Assurance comprises the approaches, techniques, methods and processes are designed for the projects are implemented correctly. The QA activities allows the monitoring and verifying of the processes used to manage and create the deliverables. Therefore, QA is a proactive process and prevention in the nature by detecting the flaws in the process. Which QA has to completed before QC.[2]


What is Quality Control?

Quality Control is the most basic level of quality management. It compromises the activities of inspecting, testing, or checking a product to ensure it meets the requirements. QC is to primarily identify any issues – and either fix them or eliminate them – to make sure the end results is within the requirements. QC is typically conducted at the end of the process. [3]


In short, Quality Assurance is process oriented and focuses on defect prevention, while quality control is product oriented and focuses on defect identification.[4]


The comparison chart attached shows the difference in a very straight forward and simple manner.4

Quality Assurance versus Quality Control comparison chart
Quality Assurance Quality Control
Definition QA is a set of activities for ensuring quality in the processes by which products are developed. QC is a set of activities for ensuring quality in products. The activities focus on identifying defects in the actual products produced.
Focus on QA aims to prevent defects with a focus on the process used to make the product. It is a proactive quality process. QC aims to identify (and correct) defects in the finished product. Quality control, therefore, is a reactive process.
Goal The goal of QA is to improve development and test processes so that defects do not arise when the product is being developed. The goal of QC is to identify defects after a product is developed and before it’s released.
How Establish a good quality management system and the assessment of its adequacy. Periodic conformance audits of the operations of the system. Finding & eliminating sources of quality problems through tools & equipment so that customer’s requirements are continually met.
What Prevention of quality problems through planned and systematic activities including documentation. The activities or techniques used to achieve and maintain the product quality, process and service.
Responsibility Everyone on the team involved in developing the product is responsible for quality assurance. Quality control is usually the responsibility of a specific team that tests the product for defects.
Example Verification is an example of QA Validation/Software Testing is an example of QC
Statistical Techniques Statistical Tools & Techniques can be applied in both QA & QC. When they are applied to processes (process inputs & operational parameters), they are called Statistical Process Control (SPC); & it becomes the part of QA. When statistical tools & techniques are applied to finished products (process outputs), they are called as Statistical Quality Control (SQC) & comes under QC.
As a tool QA is a managerial tool QC is a corrective tool
Orientation QA is process oriented QC is product oriented


[1] Quality Assurance Is Not Quality Control. (2014, March 28). Retrieved from


[2] Brett Arthur, The Difference Between Quality Assurance and Quality Control (2012, April 17) Open Dialog – Dialog Information Technology Retrieved from


[3] Quality Services & Reporting Team. (2017, June 21). Learning About Quality: What’s the Difference Between QA & QC? [Blog Post]. Retrieved from

[4]  Quality Assurance vs. Quality Control. (n.d.) Retrieved from

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