August 19, 2011

QA Is Not A Verb


qual·i·ty as·sur·ance
Noun: The maintenance of a desired level of quality in a service or product, especially by means of attention to every stage of the process of delivery or production.

QA is not a verb.  QA stands for Quality Assurance.

So when you say "can you please QA this build", you are asking "can you please Quality Assurance this build?"  That's probably not what you meant.

Perhaps you mean:
  • Can you please check this build?
  • Can you please test this build? copyrightjoestrazzere
  • Can you please use your vast Quality Assurance skills to help ensure this build is of sufficient quality for our important stakeholders?

You wouldn't say:
  • Can you please IT this computer?
  • Can you please Development this code?
  • Can you please Engineering this system?
  • Can you please Product Management this requirement?
  • Can you please UX this build?

So please, don't use QA as a verb?

(Thank you for taking the time to Reader this article.)

This article originally appeared in my blog: All Things Quality
My name is Joe Strazzere and I'm currently a Director of Quality Assurance.
I like to lead, to test, and occasionally to write about leading and testing.
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  1. Joe,

    On a different note, the usage of language is created by humans. Various words have come into any language because that's how people want to use it.

    Alexander was difficult to pronounce for people in our country (India) back then. He was named Alikshendra in Sanskrit. This was difficult for the common people to pronounce, so it became Sikander. You ask today who Alikshendra is, they won't know. You ask about Sikander, and they would quote even stories, songs etc. The question is if Alexander were alive, would he like this kind of adjustments to his name?

    Google is a noun. How many times have we heard the phrase - "Google it!", thereby changing it to a verb and no one minds that!

    PERL has become Perl, from an acronym to a word of its own, because it grew beyond its original purpose.

    So, the usage of QA as you mention in the verb form looks very odd when you replace it with full form of QA, but not if it is used as QA.

    I agree to you from current grammar and English perspective. At the same time, I believe that beyond a basic skeleton, it's these things which help in the growth of a language.

    I can't recall if I use QA in its verb form (infact I use the abbr QA very less in my talk), but your post made me think!


  2. Thanks, Rahul.

    English is indeed a slippery language. That's clear whenever we review a Requirements doc and have to constantly ask "what do you mean by that?"

    I'm not a grammar police, and I usually don't care if the language people use isn't precise. Still, a few phrases like "Can you QA that?" irritate me.

    Perhaps this blog article will be therapeutic for me...

  3. Michael GlikAugust 23, 2011

    Well, I wonder how therapeutic this topic actually is. I was on a meeting the other day and all of a sudden heard a question: "Will you provide instructions to upgradation?" I thought the speaker (over the phone) was implying something I should have understood and maybe even acted on, because surely there is no such a word as "upgradation" (from upgrade as "installation" from install)... If you are as naive as I am, you have to check yourself ( and you find such word, but with yet again a different meaning: apparently it means "improving the quality of something."

    Talking to my colleagues I found out that there is such concept as "Indian English" which has many "new words" based on to what Rahul Verma said, "Various words have come into any language because that's how people want to use it."

    It is true that language is developing all the time and new words are coming into existence, but there is a point when people stop understanding each other: like in my case I misinterpreted a simple questions about documentation with a polite hint of the current development obscurity.

    In other words, I think it should not be enough for "Various words have come into any language because that's how people want to use it." Maybe it is also important who those people are...

  4. Thanks for the comments, Michael - good to hear from you!

  5. I agree that QA stands for Quality Assurance. I would like to know how people in Software Quality Assurance and Testing use it.

  6. Someone just pointed out to me that I tend to use the term "QAer" a lot.

    Yes, I am inconsistent! I break my own rules!