Having strong quality assurance skills helps you deliver professional and accurate work for your business. These skills assist people in formal quality assurance roles, including quality assurance managers and test engineers, as well as employees without official quality assurance duties. When all employees strive for excellence, businesses are more likely to deliver the best products and services to their customers. In this article, we discuss some common quality assurance skills and how you can improve your skills.
What is quality assurance?
Quality assurance is the process of establishing and maintaining a specified standard of excellence when producing and distributing products or services. This process ensures products and services are reliable and fit for purpose. The concept of quality assurance began in the manufacturing sector, but it has now spread to most industries. Adhering to quality assurance guidelines has several benefits for a business, including:
- Increased consumer confidence, as consumers learn they can rely on the business’ products or services
- Improved business reputation, as they become known as a quality provider
- Higher efficiency, as quality assurance focuses on preventing mistakes, so there are fewer errors to correct and thus less time wasted
- Reduced waste, as products are created to the specified quality level every time
- Reduced need for after-sale support, as products and services are more reliable
- Increased staff morale, as employees can feel proud of their role in meeting quality standards
Examples of quality assurance skills
Possessing a quality assurance skillset will help you incorporate these practices into your work. These are key skills for a test engineer and quality assurance manager, but anyone within a business can still utilize them. Some prime QA skills include:
- Attention to detail
- Time management
- Written and verbal communication
- Ability to work as part of a team
- Knowledge of quality standards
Attention to detail
Your attention to detail ensures all your tasks are completed to the business’ specifications. Getting seemingly minor details correct every time can prevent major problems from occurring further down the supply chain. It also prevents tasks from needing to be redone or revised to meet requirements later.
Managing your time well ensures you have adequate time to complete your tasks to the desired quality standard, then confirm they comply with specifications. It also reduces your stress, so you can focus on completing your duties well with a clear head. When you meet your deadlines, you also ensure others who rely on you have enough time to meet their own deadlines without reducing their work quality.
Problem-solving skills help you find solutions if you are struggling to meet the required quality standards. A combination of creativity, logic and critical thinking can serve you well when challenges arise in your duties.
Few workers ever have a single task or responsibility. Strong multitasking skills help you transition between each job you have, in order of their priority, without compromising quality standards.
Written and verbal communication
Strong verbal communication skills can help you explain ways to improve processes to other people so they can achieve set quality standards. Your listening skills are also crucial for understanding what your colleagues need from you. Strong written communication is a required technical skill for software testing and other quality assurance roles, where written quality assurance reports chart progress.
Ability to work as part of a team
Quality assurance is usually a team effort, so a key quality assurance skill is the ability to work as a part of that team. You should understand the work that others in your department do and how it impacts your own. This understanding helps you collaborate to achieve your business’ quality standards. You may also help your teammates when they are under stress—or delegate tasks to them when you have a high workload—to retain quality standards.
Knowledge of quality standards
Understanding quality standards is an essential skill for quality assurance. Most employees must work within the standards set by their company. Understanding other key quality standards, such as guidelines set by the Food and Drug Administration, can also help you meet quality expectations.
How to improve your quality assurance skills
Improving your quality assurance skills is essential for developing your skillset for manual testing, production and other business phases or processes. A commitment to quality and improving your work can help you increase your quality assurance skills. The following tips can help you improve your quality assurance skillset:
1. Stay focused
When your mind is focused on your work, you are more likely to meet the required quality standards.
2. Take ownership of your work
Taking ownership of your work helps you feel more responsible for it. This added responsibility should help you pay more attention to its quality.
3. Undertake additional training
Participating in supplemental training can teach you new preferred practices and remind you of some techniques you may have overlooked. Training in specific quality assurance skills, such as strategic problem-solving, can also be beneficial. The lessons you learn can help you improve the quality of your work and identify areas where your colleagues or company can improve.
4. Track areas of concern
Tracking errors and customer complaints can keep you accountable for the work you do. This practice is likely to make you more conscious of problems and work harder to eradicate them. It also allows you to notice trends that can help you re-evaluate and improve your practices.
5. Schedule time for checks
Proper checks and testing can become neglected when time is limited. Scheduling time for this vital process can ensure you don’t overlook it, even when you face strict deadlines.