What is a quality assurance agreement?

A quality assurance agreement is a document that holds the mutual agreement between the parties involved in writing. These parties are entities that take part during quality management, such as the human resources or personnel, the suppliers, the manufacturing department and the like. In this agreement, the responsibilities of each party are outlined and explicitly stated in order for the constituents to have a clearer scope and delimitation of what they are supposed to do for the project at hand. The quality assurance agreement therefore is a legally binding contract that can hold signatories accountable for sudden withdrawal, failure to do their intended tasks, and non-compliance to the promised consensus written in the file.

What should a quality assurance agreement contain?

Given the brief overview of what a quality assurance agreement is, its nature is already laid out for the readers to get a grip of. However, it is important to dissect the important parts of the said document because of the amount of legal gravity it holds, as well as the transactional relationship of the parties. Learning and getting familiarized with the content of a quality assurance agreement enables you to anticipate your later responsibilities, and the important things to consider once you plan to sign such a document.

Individual Party’s Responsibilities : Written contracts are always the best way to go when making agreements and transactions with entities you collaborate with especially in the business or corporate world. A quality assurance agreement is definitive of the many roles each party is assigned to, and the nature of their work in general as well. Moreover, involvement in specific activities such as quality feedback and deviations management should also be explicitly be given parameters as early as signing the quality assurance agreement due to further complications possibly arising when parties in separate departments choose to dissent the dynamics of the product at hand.General Terms : In this portion, the business names of each party are reflected, the agreement period i.e. the estimated commencement and expiration date of the transaction, as well as the key contacts. These are things that are essential to be established in order for the time allocation to be better projected, and in order for communication to be a lot easier.Test Environment and Facilities : In partnerships, it is important to establish the specific sites where the facility can perform their tests or operations on the manufactured product. These venues are preemptively agreed on by both parties, deliberately identifying the weight of both advantages and disadvantages brought upon by specific choices. Besides that, the specific services to be provided by the parties within the sites are also stated here.Confidentiality : Like jobs, it is also important to note whether or not you are okay with your partner to work with other companies or individuals, especially those that have the same line of work as you. You may issue a non-compete rule if you wish to, and the duration for when this sustains.Site Control : You may very possibly work with your partners and/or suppliers in the same site as where you are conducting your quality assessment, hence it is very important to note the kind of data the other party is permissible to see, and that which they are not. For the data they are permissible to see, posit which parts of the data are to be shared, and how they are going to be shared to the different departments or teams that need to perhaps check them, or any corrective measure needed.Pricing and Cost : This is a very important aspect to note especially when you are transacting with a supplier. Considering that these projects are not an overnight thing, and may take months or years to perfect, it is plausible that your partners are going to be working with you for some time. With that said, the pricing and cost may be detailed in the agreement, especially an already negotiated matrix. Perhaps you may choose a material or supply package prior to the crafting of the agreement, or avail cost reduction plans from the company if there are any. Promised transactions regarding these supplies are a priority in quality assurance agreements.Limitation of Liability : Limitation of liability means that there will be limits the moment your partner decides to sue you for breaching parts of the contract, or violating specific clauses of it. You can still be taken to court, however, the damages are immediately reduced. These reduced damages may look like you having to pay less compensation as opposed to the original amount. Because of the inevitability of conflict and future clashes, you may safeguard yourself, or perhaps your own company from severe damages. This part of the agreement will surely help you with that issue.Changes during Manufacturing : By virtue of guidelines, contractors have to inform the owner or the head of the project about changes they feel the need to make towards the subject. However, in some cases, alerting the owner or head may be something not complied by the contractor for several reasons. In this part of the agreement, the way these non-notified changes are crafted and handled must be outlined for a heads-up.Documentation : Like everything else, there are standard operating procedures or SOPs to be followed by those that manage and test a project. Records, receipts, valid permits, photographs of the site and facilities, and anything that proves the existence of the test itself should be things to be kept and even included in the agreement since these are requirements for external validating entities i.e. government departments to approve the credibility and truthfulness of your test. Both parties need to retain these documents for further compliance, in order to show that they have completely met the requirements needed. These documents may be compiled as the project testing goes on, or even in the aftermath of it. It is then ultimately kept with the quality assurance agreement itself.

How to Implement a Quality Assurance Test

The quality assurance agreement is one of the most important fundamental documents needed before running an assurance test. It is at par with the product test plans which are outlines of the process of the execution in and of itself. The former elaborately deals with the actors involved in the quality assurance test, while the latter deals with the dynamics of it. Still, the most important, and perhaps the biggest thing about the topic at hand, is of course the test itself, which is why the steps to be taken in order to conduct one are things you ought to be familiarized with.

Step 1: Quality Management Software

Software are very important and helpful tools during the execution of a whole project. It helps in keeping you organized, and your teams in sync as your software, for instance, takes its launch. Readying a good and reliable quality management software is the first step you can take in implementing your quality assurance test. Quality management software are also just generally good in risk management.

Step 2: Observation

When the test commences, it is important for you and the different teams you may have to observe the nature of the product once it is being run. Here, you are able to spot glitches or flaws which you can fix in post. During this time, you may take notes of your observations in order for you to disseminate the information to the team responsible in processing that compartment of the project. List down the strengths you see in the product as well such as the smoothness of the production process, security, and stability in order for you to keep in mind the things that are successfully built for the project.

Step 3: Feedback

Perhaps you may have acting customers to use the product first in order for external parties to gauge the promised purpose of your asset, or you may have your set of professional teams give comments on the run of the product. During feedback, you are able to get points of information and points of improvement from third parties, since the success of your product is mostly based on the consumers’ approval. Post surveys could also be a good idea in order for you to have a more tangible and quantifiable result.

Step 4: Revisions

When talking about quality assurance, it is inevitable not to tie it back to constantly changing the product to meet expectations. The whole point of quality assurance is basically to see if something is already good enough to be put out in the market. Revisions may happen in macro scale or a micro scale, i.e. it could range from changing a few codes in your software to solve a glitch, to you having to invest in more staffing or production processes.

Step 5: Assessing Results

Once your product is finally out, you may begin to assess the outcomes of it. Goal-setting is perhaps one of the initial concepts written in your test plan, and in this step, you may compare real-world data to your primary expectations. However, it is very possible that your expectations will later turn out to be things you find are actually not arbitrary to the nature of your product, as new information and insights come in with the product being part of the lived experiences of people. The success of the product at the end of the day, is still measured and decided by you.

Why do I need to have a quality assurance agreement?

It is important to have it because it legally binds the parties into the consensus they have made regarding responsibilities, tasks and supplies, and it ensures that all of them get to fulfill their promised transaction. With the quality assurance agreement, it is also far easier to hold them accountable should things go in unexpected turns.

Yes. It establishes the contractual relationship between the parties present in quality assurance, and signing it is surely involving the law in their transaction.

What are good application tools used for quality assurance?

Software surely make our tasks much easier, and the results much more reliable. A few good application tools for quality assurance are Zephyr Scale, TestCollab, Kualitee, and PractiTest.

Quality assurance makes your product a lot more marketable and enticing, hence the investments you make in the background are very well justified. Part of the quality management of a product are the connections you establish in creating a team to serve as the pillars of the project, which is why making sure to have a good and elaborate quality assurance agreement is in your best interest. Once you have a quality assurance agreement, all parties are bound to commit to their responsibilities and promises, but other than that, you also have a safeguard for when things might go haywire since it has strong legal gravity. Conclusively, the quality assurance agreement is a strategic safety net for you to have to secure a bright future for the investments that you made.