What are the main stages in the QA process?

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Randall HendricksRandall Hendricks

What is Quality Assurance?

Quality assurance (QA) is a method in software development that ensures that software is delivered with high quality to meet end-user expectations. To do so, however, a QA program must be adopted.

Simply put, a QA program comprises activities to achieve a specific standard.

Quality assurance generally aims to help your business comply with particular standards such as ISO9000, ISO15504, or CMMI and ensures the process is well-defined and rigorous while maintaining its end goal – preserving application quality.

A dedicated team of QA engineers (QAs), test leads, and test managers define these standards and processes. To do so, they go through a vital process that will be discussed in this article.

Stages of a Quality Assurance Process

The main stages in the QA process are denoted below:

Stages of a Quality Assurance Process

Simply put, the quality assurance process comprises the following steps:

  • Briefing client on the project
  • Discussing requirements from the client
  • Planning tests
  • Designing test cases
  • Running test cases and reporting bugs
  • Performing regression testing
  • Running release tests

Client Briefing

QA starts at this point. When the client is briefed on the project, quality assurance should be taken into consideration. The QA team must understand and analyze all project requirements, both functional and non-functional.

By doing so, you can identify potential issues at the start, where the effort taken to fix the issue is minimal, unlike identifying critical issues at production.

Therefore, QA must be involved from the initial state of requirement analysis as they will understand the requirements thoroughly and design the test cases accordingly.

Planning Tests

Next, a test plan should be formulated for testing.

A test plan is a document that outlines the strategy, objectives, resources, and schedule of a software testing process.

The test plan will typically include details such as:

  • The type of tests that need to be conducted – this could include unit, integration, end-to-end, regression, etc.
  • The number of tests that need to be conducted – this helps create a proper timeline and organize and schedule your tests better.
  • The purpose of each test – this typically includes why you’re doing the test and what you aim to achieve.
  • The required testing tools.
  • How will test results be analyzed and reported? Who will check the document? How do they decide if a test passed or failed?
  • The project scope, budget, and deadlines – defines the test coverage, testing budget, and deadlines.

Once the test plan is completed, the testing managers must keep the testers informed and allocate the responsibility accordingly.

Designing Test Cases

Next, the QA team will create test cases based on the software requirements. Each test case will include conditions, data, and steps to validate functionality.

Test cases are designed for the project, considering each software feature. They are created for each feature to test all activities a user may need to perform.

The results are compared with the expected results to determine the effectiveness of the test.

Test Case Execution & Bug Reporting

Developers first conduct unit tests for each line of code they’ve written.

Subsequently, both API and UI tests are conducted by the QA testing team. Manual testing is carried out using pre-made test cases. Additionally, all issues identified during the testing phase conducted by the QA team will be noted in a bug-tracking tool like ClickUp or Jira so that developers can fix them as soon as possible.

Re-tests and Regression Testing

After the developers have fixed any identified bugs, the QA team will once again test components that failed in prior tests.

Furthermore, if the fix appears to have impacted other areas, the QA team may re-test the entire system using the regression system to ensure that everything works as expected and that no existing functionality has been affected by the new fix.

Release Tests

After developers announce a release, the QA team identifies the affected functionalities. They create new test suites to cover the changes. The team also conducts smoke tests to check stability. If the tests pass, they run the modified test suites and generate a report.

And that’s pretty much it for the main stages of the QA process!


Quality assurance is all about making sure your software does exactly what it’s supposed to do without any nasty surprises.

From chatting with clients to planning and running tests, each step in QA helps catch problems early, saving time and stress. By the time software hits the market, you can be confident it’s top-notch, thanks to a thorough QA process. It’s a crucial piece in delivering software that’s reliable and user-friendly.