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Difference between Verification and Validation

  • Project Management
Created on :
May 4, 2015
Updated on :
July 26, 2023

Verification and validation are important concepts in the PMP exam as they ensure that the project team develops the product according to approved specifications and effectively solves the intended problem.  This blog aims to explore the meaning and significance of verification and validation in the context of the PMP exam. We will emphasize their importance in improving deliverables’ overall quality and acceptance.

 What is Verification?

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

 It involves internal assessments conducted by the project team to evaluate whether the product aligns with the approved scope and satisfies predefined conditions, such as test cases. The verification process aims to ensure that the team’s understanding of the product corresponds to the intended requirements and scope and that it meets the established criteria also leads to the overall quality of product deliverables.

What is Validation?

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.  

It is an external assessment focusing on gathering customer and other identified stakeholder feedback to see whether the product can effectively solve their problem. It entails evaluating the product’s alignment with stakeholders’ real needs and expectations. In essence, validation activity helps address the stakeholders’ needs adequately, leading to getting acceptance of deliverables.

 The Synergy of Verification and Validation Activities: Ensuring Correctness and Acceptance

Verification and validation activities work together to ensure the correctness and acceptance of deliverables. Verification is a frequent activity that the team performs on a daily basis. Once the team completes the development of a deliverable, they engage in verification activities to ensure its correctness and compliance with the specified requirements and scope. Peer reviews may be conducted, with team members reviewing each other’s work, providing feedback, and identifying potential issues or oversights. The team may also do unit and Continuous Integration (CI) testing to verify deliverables with test cases. So, verification involves technical activities focused on checking details of scope and requirements, test cases, and other aspects of building solutions correctly.

 After completing the verified deliverables, the team proceeds to the validation of those deliverables. They present these verified deliverables to customers and other stakeholders, seeking their feedback on whether it meets their needs. Validation is a less frequent activity taking a functional or end-user perspective.

For the verification and validation of deliverables, you can say that validation is usually done after verification. The verified deliverables are validated, leading to the acceptance of those deliverables. It is done like this – First, requirements are converted into a defined scope, followed by the development of deliverables by the project team. These deliverables are then verified against the scope and requirements before being presented for validation to customers and stakeholders. These external stakeholders assess the product based on how well it addresses their needs and solves their problems.

 Many times, the team uses validation tools like continual confirmations and requirement walkthroughs to validate their understanding of requirements. The continual confirmations include regular interactions with stakeholders, such as showing prototypes and requirements, to validate that it aligns with their expectations. The team needs to frequently communicate an understanding of requirements and check if their understanding matches with customers and other identified stakeholders.   Requirement walkthroughs involve going through the requirement document with stakeholders, allowing them to ask questions, provide clarifications, and ensure that the requirements in the document address the intended problem. The frequency of these activities varies depending on the nature of the project, with more ambiguous project requirements necessitating more frequent engagement.

 Summarized difference between Verification and Validation activities:

The following table provides a comparison between verification and validation activities in the context of ensuring the correctness and acceptance of deliverables: 

To EnsureSpecifications are MetNeeds are Met
To BuildSolution CorrectlyCorrect Solution
Done byProject and Solution TeamStakeholders or Business
Uses toolsPeer Review and InspectionContinual Confirmation and Requirement Walkthrough mainly to validate requireemnts

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

ActivityVerification / Validation
Review of a Specification document to ensure:All references are marked properly2. Naming convention is followed3. Consistency in requirementVerification
Set of key users going through requirement specification to understand the current flow and how it meets their business needValidation
The testing team doing the checking of deliverable to ensure it meets the specificationVerification
Key users execute the user acceptance flow to check if the system automates their business process flowValidation

Verification and Validation activities in Agile:

In Agile, both requirement verification and validation are crucial. During the sprint or iteration, when the project team works on user stories, they perform verification activities by ensuring that these user stories meet the Definition of Done. The Definition of Done acts as a checklist that enables rigorous verification, and each Agile team determines its own Definition of Done (DoD) based on project requirements. DoD helps to ensure that all the necessary steps are taken before declaring a user story or product backlog item complete.  To know more about how the definition of Done can be used to improve the overall quality of work and helps in verification, explore – Definition of Done (DoD) in Agile Development: A Comprehensive Guide

One of the components of the Definition of Done is – Acceptance criteria or conformation tests associated with each user story must be met. To explore more about these confirmation tests associated with  user stories, you can refer – User Stories a Comprehensive Guide with Examples

During sprint reviews or iteration reviews, the focus is more on validation, as the team demonstrates the verified deliverables to stakeholders and seeks their feedback and validation on whether the deliverables meet their needs and expectations.

In summary, in the Agile or Scrum way of working, the Definition of Done (DoD) plays a crucial role in verification, ensuring that all necessary steps are taken to mark a user story or product backlog item as complete. On the other hand, sprint or iteration reviews primarily focus on validation, as they provide an opportunity for stakeholders to assess the deliverables and provide feedback on whether these deliverables are completed as per their needs.

When preparing for the PMP exam, keep the following tips in mind regarding the Verification and Validation:

  1. Verification ensures that the product meets the specified requirements and scope, while validation ensures that it solves the problem and meets stakeholders’ needs.
  2. The project team performs Verification activities internally, including peer reviews, inspections, and testing against predefined conditions.
  3. Validation activities involve external stakeholders, such as customers and end users, who provide feedback and evaluate whether the product effectively solves their problem.
  4. The verified deliverables are validated by stakeholders, leading to their acceptance, so you can say that validation is usually done after verification.
  5. Continual confirmations and requirement walkthroughs are tools for requirements validation, as they involve regular interactions with stakeholders to validate team understanding of requirements.
  6. Sprint reviews or iteration reviews in Agile are associated more with validation, as they involve demonstrating the product to end users and stakeholders to validate if the product solving the intended problem.
  7. The definition of Done helps in the verification of work in Agile. It is a set of guidelines that outline what is considered “completed work” for a user story or product backlog item.

I hope this blog has provided valuable insights into verification and validation, empowering you to confidently navigate these concepts in your project management endeavours and PMP exam preparation.

 You can watch and listen to the video presentation on more details of the Verification and Validation:

 If you have aspirations to pursue the PMP certification, enroll with us for comprehensive support in your PMP certification journey. We offer expert guidance in exam preparation, assistance with the application process, and help in scheduling the exam. With our assistance, you can confidently navigate the certification process and increase your chances of success.

iZenBridge offers a wide range of comprehensive FREE resources to support you throughout your PMP certification journey. Explore our PMP Free Practice test, which provides a realistic simulation of the actual exam and helps you assess your preparedness with up-to-date questions. Our 50 Agile PMP Questions tutorial also delves deep into essential PMP Agile concepts, such as working with Requirements, value delivery, Agile Metrics, incremental delivery, and feedback. These tutorials provide detailed explanations and expose you to common Agile-related PMP exam questions. Whether you’re new to Agile or seeking to strengthen your understanding, our scenario-based PMP Agile questions are valuable tools for effective concept comprehension

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