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Quality Assurance

Dariya Malakhova, Automation and Manual Quality Assurance Engineer

May 23, 2023 10 min read

Quality Assurance Audits in Testing: A Guide to Best Practice

This article recommends effective methods of conducting audit quality assurance during testing. Here we will discuss the sequence of actions of our team during inspections and the QA audit checklist.

Quality Assurance Audits in Testing
This article recommends effective methods of conducting audit quality assurance during testing. Here we will discuss the sequence of actions of our team during inspections and the QA audit checklist. We will also provide real examples of quality checks with the tools and procedures used to carry them out. Finally, the article is devoted to the usefulness and importance of quality inspections and offers recommendations and suggestions for future use.

How does Quality Assurance Audit work in testing?

Quality assurance is a series of consistent actions to evaluate testing methodology and processes. They identify potential risks, threats, or problems. In addition, internal or external auditors may conduct audits. The aim is to minimize the time and budget spent.

The audit is conducted to confirm that the goods meet quality standards and determine how to improve the testing procedures and processes. Another advantage of the audit is ensuring the final product is tested with maximum efficiency. Therefore, it includes several testing methods, such as creating, testing, correcting deficiencies, and writing a test protocol.

What is Audit Quality assurance testing for?

Based on our experience, any organization conducting quality assurance auditing makes this decision after many mistakes and difficulties. This strategy is regrettable. The audit addresses issues such as:

  1. Standards Compliance: Compliance with standards such as ISO, CMMI, and IEEE is necessary to maintain product quality and customer satisfaction.
  2. Risk Identification and Mitigation: This helps organizations avoid costly rework before product release.
  3. Improving testing processes and procedures: Audit identifies areas requiring special attention. The results should lead to significant changes in the efficiency and effectiveness of testing to meet the changing needs of the market and stakeholders.
  4. Stakeholder Satisfaction Assurance: Auditing ensures that the end product meets the requirements of customers, developers, end-users, and regulators. It enables organizations to meet the needs of all stakeholders and maintain their reputation in the market.

What gets the customer after QA audit?

After the quality control audit,  the client receives a detailed report. The document usually includes the following:

  1. Audit Report Description: This is the audit summary. It provides a complete audit overview, including its scope, objectives, and methodology.
  2. Results and conclusions: This document section reflects the audit results of the process, procedures, and end product. In it, issues have a gradation of importance with options and solutions to address them.
  3. Recommendations: Based on the audit results, specific step-by-step recommendations indicate the processes and procedures for conducting more effective testing. Recommendations are ranked according to the severity of the problems identified and their impact on the final product.
  4. Action plan: It contains specific measures to address audit issues, including time frames and responsibilities for each activity.
  5. Conclusion: This summarizes the audit results and stresses the importance of addressing the problems identified to ensure that the end product meets the desired quality standards.
As a result, the client receives a detailed quality assurance report. It highlights blind areas needing development and makes valuable recommendations to address the identified problems. The client can then use this data to adjust the verification methods, ultimately improving the quality of the end product and satisfying the stakeholders.

How does our team conduct a QA audit?

Our team usually conducts structured quality assurance when it arrives on a project or as a separate service. Here we are glad to describe the basic steps to help you understand the process.


  • Planning: We start by defining the audit scope and objectives, establishing audit criteria and standards, selecting an audit team, and assigning roles and responsibilities. We also hold a pre-audit briefing with the QA team to ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Introductory meetings: A preliminary meeting with the QA team will help the audit quality assurance process. We collect additional information about the testing process and products at this stage.
  • Collection and analysis of evidence: Using various methods such as document review, monitoring, and testing, we collect and analyze data related to audit criteria and standards and conduct interviews with test group members to gather specific information.
  • The preparation of conclusions and recommendations: For the testing teams, we prepare findings and offers that may address areas of inconsistency, opportunities for improvement, and best practices highlighted during the audit. They are based on the quality assurance audit checks results and are designed to speed up the process and increase efficiency.
  • Final Meetings: We then meet with the QA team to review the findings, discuss recommendations, and answer any questions they may have.

  • Preparation of the audit report: In this document, we summarize the objectives, criteria, scope, conclusions, and audit quality assurance recommendations. The report provides a brief and clear overview of the audit findings. Its structure makes it easier to navigate and understand the content.
  • Distribution of the report to the QA team: At this stage, information is received by QA.
  • Examining and finalizing the audit report: All designated persons interact with the information. They make final corrections or changes to ensure accuracy and clarity.
  • Defining an appropriate mailing list: This list includes project leaders, quality assurance managers, development teams, and other stakeholders who will directly implement the changes.
  • Schedule a follow-up appointment: Additional meetings may be held to discuss and specify the next steps. This meeting can clarify questions or concerns and ensure everyone understands the challenges ahead.
  • Enforcement Action: After reviewing the audit report, testers should take appropriate action to address identified issues or areas for improvement. The audit team, in turn, must ensure that the recommended steps are completed on time.
Summarizing this step, we confidently state that the accuracy and clarity of the report and the verified interaction of all subjects lead to the maximum result of a quality audit.

A quality assurance audit example will be given below to understand what problems may be detected during the QA audit of a process.

Use QA audit best practices

Some of the best practices for our team in quality assurance audits:

  • Competence and Independence: The auditor should have sufficient qualifications and experience in testing and analysis. It must also be independent, impartial, and have no personal or financial interest in the audit results.
  • Adopting a risk-based approach to planning and auditing: Potential areas of vulnerability or weakness are identified, and risk assessments are conducted. This process is based on a thorough understanding of the risks associated with the testing process.
  • Maintaining audit records: All activities should be well documented, including the QA audit plan template, the audit report, and any supporting evidence. This documentation stays in the archive of the customer's company for further study and use.
  • Effective Communication: The auditor should leave the channels of communication open with the QA team, including regular status updates, progress reports, and feedback.
  • Providing Feedback and Opportunities for Test Improvement: The audit should not be considered a single event but an ongoing process of QA improvement in close collaboration between the QAs and the audit team.

An example of a real audit Quality Assurance process case

Let's consider several cases in which inconsistencies were found with respect to the internal audit quality assurance checklist:





















Conclusion

This article provides a comprehensive overview of conducting quality assurance audits in testing. It covers the benefits, challenges, stages, and best practices of the QA audits process. It also offers some practical tips and recommendations for QA auditors to follow. By applying these best practices, QA auditors can enhance their skills and deliver high-quality software products.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Quality Assurance (QA) audit in testing?

A QA audit is a systematic examination or review of a testing process to ensure it adheres to predefined standards, guidelines, and best practices. The main goal is to identify areas for improvement and ensure quality in the software delivery process.

Why are QA audits important in software testing?

QA audits provide an objective assessment of the testing processes, tools, and methodologies in use. They help in identifying inefficiencies, ensuring regulatory compliance, and guaranteeing the delivery of high-quality software to the end-users.

What is the difference between QA audits and regular testing?

While regular testing focuses on identifying defects or issues in the software product, QA audits evaluate the processes used during testing. Audits assess whether these processes are efficient, effective, and in line with industry best practices.

How do QA audits contribute to continuous improvement?

QA audits highlight gaps and areas of improvement, providing actionable insights. By acting on these recommendations, organizations can refine their testing processes, leading to higher quality software and more efficient operations.

How frequently should a QA audit be conducted?

The frequency of QA audits depends on various factors such as the size of the project, regulatory requirements, past audit findings, and the organization's internal policies. However, periodic audits, such as annually or bi-annually, are commonly recommended.

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