Verification and validation (also abbreviated as V&V) are independent procedures that are used together for checking that a product, service, or system meets requirements and specifications and that it fulfills its intended purpose. These are critical components of a quality management system such as ISO 9000. The words "verification" and "validation" are sometimes preceded with "independent", indicating that the verification and validation is to be performed by a disinterested third party. "Independent verification and validation" can be abbreviated as "IV&V".
In practice, as quality management terms, the definitions of verification and validation can be inconsistent. Sometimes they are even used interchangeably.
However, the PMBOK guide, a standard adopted by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), defines them as follows in its 4th edition:
Verification is intended to check that a product, service, or system meets a set of design specifications. In the development phase, verification procedures involve performing special tests to model or simulate a portion, or the entirety, of a product, service, or system, then performing a review or analysis of the modeling results. In the post-development phase, verification procedures involve regularly repeating tests devised specifically to ensure that the product, service, or system continues to meet the initial design requirements, specifications, and regulations as time progresses. It is a process that is used to evaluate whether a product, service, or system complies with regulations, specifications, or conditions imposed at the start of a development phase. Verification can be in development, scale-up, or production. This is often an internal process.
Validation is intended to ensure a product, service, or system (or portion thereof, or set thereof) results in a product, service, or system (or portion thereof, or set thereof) that meets the operational needs of the user. For a new development flow or verification flow, validation procedures may involve modeling either flow and using simulations to predict faults or gaps that might lead to invalid or incomplete verification or development of a product, service, or system (or portion thereof, or set thereof). A set of validation requirements (as defined by the user), specifications, and regulations may then be used as a basis for qualifying a development flow or verification flow for a product, service, or system (or portion thereof, or set thereof). Additional validation procedures also include those that are designed specifically to ensure that modifications made to an existing qualified development flow or verification flow will have the effect of producing a product, service, or system (or portion thereof, or set thereof) that meets the initial design requirements, specifications, and regulations; these validations help to keep the flow qualified. It is a process of establishing evidence that provides a high degree of assurance that a product, service, or system accomplishes its intended requirements. This often involves acceptance of fitness for purpose with end users and other product stakeholders. This is often an external process.
It is sometimes said that validation can be expressed by the query "Are you building the right thing?" and verification by "Are you building it right?". "Building the right thing" refers back to the user's needs, while "building it right" checks that the specifications are correctly implemented by the system. In some contexts, it is required to have written requirements for both as well as formal procedures or protocols for determining compliance.
It is entirely possible that a product passes when verified but fails when validated. This can happen when, say, a product is built as per the specifications but the specifications themselves fail to address the user's needs.
Verification of machinery and equipment usually consists of design qualification (DQ), installation qualification (IQ), operational qualification (OQ), and performance qualification (PQ). DQ may be performed by a vendor or by the user, by confirming through review and testing that the equipment meets the written acquisition specification. If the relevant document or manuals of machinery/equipment are provided by vendors, the later 3Q needs to be thoroughly performed by the users who work in an industrial regulatory environment. Otherwise, the process of IQ, OQ and PQ is the task of validation. The typical example of such a case could be the loss or absence of vendor's documentation for legacy equipment or do-it-yourself (DIY) assemblies (e.g., cars, computers, etc.) and, therefore, users should endeavour to acquire DQ document beforehand. Each template of DQ, IQ, OQ and PQ usually can be found on the internet respectively, whereas the DIY qualifications of machinery/equipment can be assisted either by the vendor's training course materials and tutorials, or by the published guidance books, such as step-by-step series if the acquisition of machinery/equipment is not bundled with on- site qualification services. This kind of the DIY approach is also applicable to the qualifications of software, computer operating systems and a manufacturing process. The most important and critical task as the last step of the activity is to generating and archiving machinery/equipment qualification reports for auditing purposes, if regulatory compliances are mandatory.
Qualification of machinery/equipment is venue dependent, in particular items that are shock sensitive and require balancing or calibration, and re-qualification needs to be conducted once the objects are relocated. The full scales of some equipment qualifications are even time dependent as consumables are used up (i.e. filters) or springs stretch out, requiring recalibration, and hence re-certification is necessary when a specified due time lapse. Re-qualification of machinery/equipment should also be conducted when replacement of parts, or coupling with another device, or installing a new application software and restructuring of the computer which affects especially the pre-settings, such as on BIOS, registry, disk drive partition table, dynamically-linked (shared) libraries, or an ini file etc., have been necessary. In such a situation, the specifications of the parts/devices/software and restructuring proposals should be appended to the qualification document whether the parts/devices/software are genuine or not. Torres and Hyman have discussed the suitability of non-genuine parts for clinical use and provided guidelines for equipment users to select appropriate substitutes which are capable of avoiding adverse effects. In the case when genuine parts/devices/software are demanded by some of regulatory requirements, then re-qualification does not need to be conducted on the non-genuine assemblies. Instead, the asset has to be recycled for non-regulatory purposes.
When machinery/equipment qualification is conducted by a standard endorsed third party such as by an ISO standard accredited company for a particular division, the process is called certification. Currently, the coverage of ISO/IEC 15408 certification by an ISO/IEC 27001 accredited organization is limited; the scheme requires a fair amount of efforts to get popularized.
Validation work can generally be categorized by the following functions:
The most tested attributes in validation tasks may include, but are not limited to
These terms generally apply broadly across industries and institutions. In addition, they may have very specific meanings and requirements for specific products, regulations, and industries. Some examples:
There are some authors who apparently regard these two terms as synonymous, others who seem to be only vaguely aware of the differences. Some even appear to believe that V&V is one word! ... There is such a fundamental difference between these models that the term validation has many years ago been selected to be different from the term verification. Nevertheless, it is debatable whether the distinction between validation and verification should be continued.
Two terms that sometimes confuse software test engineers are "validation" and "verification". ... Obviously the two IEEE definitions are so close to each other it's hard to determine the difference.
In interviews most of the interviewers are asking questions on "What is Difference between Verification and Validation?" Lots of people use verification and validation interchangeably but both have different meanings.
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