Monday, September 8, 2014

Validation and Verification - What IS the difference?

In the latest edition of the “Just the FAQs” CMMI series, CMMI expert and consultant Pat O’Toole clarifies the misconceptions between Verification and Validation. According to the usual explanation, Verification means “you built it right;” while Validation means that “you built the right thing.”

O’Toole has a different perspective.  He says that, operationally, the usual explanation is not useful. According to O’Toole, the best way to eliminate the confusion between Verification and Validation is to consider who is involved.

“When performing something that smells like V&V, take a look at who is involved in the activity. If it’s just our engineers and testers, then it’s probably a verification activity,” says O’Toole.  “Verification is ensuring the work products meet the requirements.

“On the other hand, if the customer, user, or a customer/user surrogate is involved in a product evaluation activity, this tilts the scale much more heavily toward validation,” he said.

O’Toole provides his insights about verification and validation in the latest edition of the “Just the FAQs” series. “Just the FAQs” is a monthly CMMI series published by Jeff Dalton, President of Broadsword, and Pat O’Toole.  The series provides answers to the most frequently asked questions about the CMMI, SCAMPI and process improvement.

"Just the FAQs" is written and edited by Pat O'Toole and Jeff Dalton.  Please contact the authors at and to ask questions, offer ideas and provide input.