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Quality assurance (QA) is the process of verifying whether a product meets required specifications and customer expectations. QA is a process-driven approach that facilitates and defines goals regarding product design, development and production. QA's primary goal is tracking and resolving deficiencies prior to product release.
The QA concept was popularized during World War II.
Organizations often designate separate QA departments, which increases customer confidence and credibility and improves efficiency and overall work processes.
Measurability is the key to QA. Products are tested and evaluated to determine whether they meet required performance specifications. QA may require many iterations and involve production delays.
An organization's QA approach generally emphasizes management, knowledge, skills, personal integrity, confidence, quality relationships and infrastructure.
If relevant expertise and skills are not present within an organization, consultants may be involved when new quality practices are introduced. Contracted experts employ a combination of procedural documentation with quality function deployment, capability maturity model integration and Six Sigma, etc.
Various methodologies may be used to improve QA, including:
QA is also a key software development component. ISO 17025, an international standard, describes testing requirements, which specify 15 management and 10 technical and accredited laboratory duties.