In one of the recent discussions on our Forum, I realized PMP® aspirants have lots of questions on verification and validation.There is a lot of confusion about these two terms because “Verify Scope” process of PMBOK® Guide 4th Edition is changed to “Validate Scope” process in PMBOK® Guide 5th edition.

Let’s start with what PMBOK® Guide Fifth Edition has to say about it:

Verification is the evaluation of whether or not a product, service, or system complies with a regulation, requirement, specification, or imposed condition. It is often an internal process.

Validation is the assurance that a product, service, or system meets the needs of the customer and other identified stakeholders. It often involves acceptance and suitability with external customers.

These two terms are quite different. Verification is done by project team to ensure that they are on the right track and working as per the agreed specification and process whereas Validation is the assurance that the deliverable meets the customer’s need. Verification is an internal process done within the project by the project team but Validation is an external process done by the customer and identified stakeholders before accepting the deliverable. This is further followed by a formal acceptance of the deliverable. The main differences between these two terms are:

To EnsureSpecifications are MetNeeds are Met
To BuildSolution correctlyCorrect Solution
Done byProject and Solution TeamStakeholders or Business
UsesPeer Review and InspectionContinual confirmation and Requirement walk through

Here are some examples which I think can help in understanding the differences further

ActivityVerification / Validation
Review of Specification document to ensure: 1.All references are marked properly 2.Naming convention is followed 3.Consistency in requirementVerification
Set of key users going through requirement specification to understand current flow and how it meets their business needValidation
Testing team doing the checking of deliverable to ensure it meets the specificationVerification
Key users executing the user acceptance flow to check if the system automates their business process flowValidation

Do we have sequence in Verification and Validation? Most of the time verified deliverable is validated, followed by accepted deliverable. So we can say that validation is usually done after verification.

So what do you think about PMP® certification exam? Does it verify your project management skills or it validates them? Let me know in the comment section.

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