To learn a new language, one first needs to know the alphabets. This is true for any process as well. A PQ documentation or Performance Qualifications documentation is a collection of test cases that is used by a system to verify that it performs as expected in the real world under simulated conditions. Each step of the PQ documentation has an instruction, an expected result and the actual result where any discrepancy is tracked and corrected before validation.
This PQ documentation is most employed where a system has to handle multiple users simultaneously without any lag or when it handles large quantities of data and queries or handles independent work flows or a process that is completed within strict and well defined system requirements. Each product is different. A light bulb is created differently than a floor tile and one process has nothing to do with the other. There are however some constants that cannot be ignored. One such stage is testing of the software employed that is dispensing automation to these different systems.
In most cases this PQ documentation is performed by power users in a system before the product is released. Depending upon the complexity of the system being tested, this PQ documentation can be combined with an Installation Qualification (IQ) as well as an Operational Qualification (OQ) documentation. The product before being shipped needs a copy of this approved PQ documentation which has been tested and approved both by the owner of the system as well as by a quality check.
The owner of the system verifies in the PQ documentation in respect to a given set of specifications in-house during software development whereas the quality check validates these verifications by testing the product with external customers, vendors, etc. to check the suitability of the product though under a simulated environment.
Any software for instance that is supposed to dispensing automation in an industry function is first tested in a controlled environment after development as well as in a simulated environment with multiple abnormal factors added to ensure that the software can stand up to them and function well in the real life scenario. The PQ documentation cannot function on its own and needs to be supported with the IQ and OQ documentations that impact the development process of the product and its quality in their own way and form a series of steps that help provide utmost quality to the final product.
The IQ documentation ensures that the product is properly installed with all tools, space, operating conditions and other physical parameters being met and in place which we generally see as ‘Minimum Requirements’ to operate a system. The OQ documentation checks if the product runs as desired before the PQ documentation checks the limits of the system in a real world conditions under simulated scenarios. Each of these have their own expected results and are required to ensure that the errors they find are consistently reproducible until there are no errors in the system before shipping to the customer.