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Independent Verification and Validation

In the public sector alone, according to Gartner, 78 percent of implementation projects result in failure. Even when a project does not result in an outright failure, the cost multiplier for the elimination of fundamental defects discovered late in the implementation process is extremely high.

 

The modern process of verification and validation (V&V), sometimes also referred to as software quality control, helps to identify and resolve problems early in the development life-cycle to reduce the risk of failure as well as the total cost. A 2000 study titled “Verification and validation without independence: a recipe for failure” discovered that V&V started at the requirements gathering stage resulted in savings ranging from 92 percent to 180 percent of the cost of the V&V itself.

 

Building the Right Product or Building the Product Right?

Despite V&V’s benefits and popularity, the two terms that describe this process—verification and validation—are a source of much confusion.

While they both deal with software correctness, they answer different questions:

Validation: Did we build the right system? Does the software do the right thing?

Verification: Did we build the system right? Does the software do the thing right?

In other words, validation confirms that the software meets the requirements for a specific intended use by producing objective evidence that the specified requirements have been fulfilled. Verification, on the other hand, proves that the software corresponds to what was specified without any bugs or gaps. 

Modern software practitioners implement V&V as a single concept with the objectives to demonstrate technical correctness, assess the overall quality of the system, and ensure compliance with standards. While V&V is in some shape or form performed by virtually everyone who partakes in the software development process, the most important portion of the total V&V effort is usually performed by independent organizations and referred to as independent verification and validation (IV&V).

Gartner summarizes IV&V as a process responsible for detailed reviews of requirements, design, and code. The objective of IV&V is to uncover discrepancies in the product quality and specifications to ensure that the product is built to the required specifications and that developers adhere to specified regulations and budgets.

Individual software units are typically reviewed in terms of the source code, the documentation, and the associated algorithms. Dynamic verification by integration testing and other testing methods is performed to ensure flawless integration of all software units as one cohesive mesh. Finally, system testing of the entire software ensures that the product is working as per the user requirements.

Independent verification and validation (IV&V) is a tremendously useful process for checking that a software product meets specifications and fulfills its intended purpose. It is also a common source of confusion because it involves two seemingly identical activities—validation and verification–which answer different questions. Researchers have demonstrated the effectiveness of independent verification and validation in terms of its ability to reduce the risk of failure as well as the total development cost, and the examples of practical applications of independent verification and validation are numerous as well.

Contact iLynx to verify and validate your Enterprise Software for it's effectiveness and usefulness!

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