UKOLN AHDS Implementing Your Own QA

About This Document

This document describes how you can implement your own quality assurance policies and procedures to support your development work.

The QA Focus Methodology

The QA Focus methodology aims to ensure that IT development work produces services which are widely accessible and interoperable. It seeks to do this by developing a quality assurance framework which developers can make use of.

As described in the QA Focus briefing document "Summary of the QA Focus Methodology" [1] the QA Focus methodology is based on:

Documented policies on standards and best practices:
If the standards and best practices are not documented it will be difficult to ensure best practices are implemented, especially in light of staff turnover, changing environments, etc.
Documentation of the architecture used:
A description of the architecture is needed to ensure that the architecture used to implement the system is capable of complying with the standards.
Documented exceptions:
There may be occasions when deviations from standards may be allowed. Such deviations should be documented and responsibility for this agreed.
Systematic checking:
It is necessary to document systematic procedures for ensuring compliance with standards.
Audit trails:
It can be helpful to provide audit trails which can help spotting trends.

Implementing Your Own QA

The QA Focus briefing document "Summary of the QA Focus Methodology" [1] provides examples of implementing QA in the areas of Web standards and link checking. In this document we provide a template which can be used for any relevant aspect of IT development work.

QA Template

The following template can be used for developing your own QA framework.

The area covered by the QA (e.g. Web, software development, usability, ...)
The standards which are relevant to the area and which you intend to make use of.
Best Practises:
The best practices which are relevant to the area and which you intend to make use of.
The architecture you intend to use.
A summary of the exceptions to best practices and recommended standards and a justification for the exceptions.
Change Control:
A description of the responsibility for changing this QA document and the process for changing the policy.
A description of the systematic checking procedures which will ensure that you are complying with the policies you have established.
Audit trail:
A description of audit trails (if any) which provide a record your compliance checking, in order to identify any trends.

As can be seen this QA template is simple and straightforward to use. The QA Focus methodology recognises the lack of resources which can hinder the deployment of more comprehensive QA frameworks and so has developed a more light-weight approach.


Examples of use of this approach can be found on the QA Focus Web site, which includes details of QA policies and procedures in the areas of Web standards [2], linking [3], usage statistics [4] and instant messaging [5].


  1. Summary of the QA Focus Methodology, QA Focus, UKOLN,
  2. Policy On Web Standards, QA Focus, UKOLN,
  3. Policy On Linking, QA Focus, UKOLN,
  4. Policy On Usage Statistics, QA Focus, UKOLN,
  5. Policy On Instant Messaging, QA Focus, UKOLN,