The importance of Quality Assurance and Testing - History & Approaches

A brief history of Quality Assurance and Testing

Guilds: the ancestor of ISO certification

During the middle ages, there was no standard to define the quality expected. The goods produced had to meet certain standard to be sold or exchanged. The guilds took over this responsibility. In order to be a member of such guild, the craftsman had to meet quality criteria. As division of work was not in the air, each worker was responsible for the quality of the good he produced. Thus, being member of a guild were a form of quality assurance.


Industrialization: the need for quality testing

As World war I was coming at our door, industrialization was next in line. With industrialization came the need to check the quality of each worker’s production. The production of one good was dependent of several actors. The responsibility could not be imputed to one specific person. Check had to occur before the good was shipped. These controls needed to be done regularly to avoid any lengthy error to happen. That was the initial definition of Statistical control. At that stage, quality assurance was more a quality check once the good was produced.


Quality assurance supporting the effort after World War II

As World War II ended, the production power had to be fully rebuilt, especially in Japan. It is at that point that modern quality management was defined. Through the work of W. Deming and Joseph Juran, the base of quality assurance was laid as we know them today. The quality assurance was at that point integral part of the production process. It was not anymore, a label of quality or a check afterwards. It was a combination of both lead by an integrated process.


Type of Approaches

QA Testing_ 4 types of approach


Failure testing

This is the operation of a product until it fails, often under stresses in order to expose many unanticipated weaknesses. The data is used to drive process improvements. Quite often, simple changes can dramatically improve the product or service.


Statistical control

Statistical control is based on analyses of objective and subjective data. Many organizations use statistical process control as a tool in any quality improvement effort to track quality data. Control can then be implemented on the process, ideally eliminating the defect before more parts can be made.


Total Quality management

The quality of products is dependent upon that of the participating constituents, some of which are sustainable and effectively controlled while others are not. The process(es) which are managed with QA pertain to Total quality management.  

For instance, the parameters for a pressure vessel should cover not only the material and dimensions but operating environmental, safetyreliability and maintainability requirements.


Model and Standards

Management system refers to the organization's structure for managing its processes or activities that transform inputs of resources into a product or service which meets the organization's objectives, such as satisfying the customer's quality requirements, complying with regulations, or meeting environmental objectives.

The Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) model is widely used to implement Process and Product Quality Assurance (PPQA) in an organization. The CMMI maturity levels can be divided into 5 steps, which a company can achieve by performing specific activities within the organization.


As of today, and even more in the light of current events, testing should be consider as a vital source for each organization. Testing is the corner stone of the future success of a product or service. There are several example of testing cycle, which we will cover in the second part of this article, along with a business case. A concrete case to highlight the real usefulness of testing.