Are you building the right thing? And are you building it right? These two questions, coined by Barry Boehm, encapsulate the essence of independent verification and validation (IV&V). IV&V is a series of technical, managerial, and financial activities performed by independent resources to provide management teams with an assessment of ongoing project health. The IV&V assessment and associated recommendations provide project leaders and teams with actionable advice based on industry standards and best practices to deliver a successful implementation. In this article, we will explore the importance of IV&V in project management, best practices, effectiveness, benefits, and popular methods used.
What Is Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V)?
IV&V is a process that involves hiring a third-party organization to review core project requirements and provide an outside perspective. This process is particularly useful for high-profile, high-risk projects that require an unbiased assessment of the project's progress and quality. It can help identify potential errors and risks early in the project lifecycle, reducing the likelihood of costly delays or failures. The IV&V team performs ongoing project monitoring activities and reviews and validates issues, deficiencies, and risks identified with the project. IV&V provides assurance that the project is on track and aligns with the established requirements and objectives.
However, the accuracy of an IV&V report hinges completely on the accuracy and extent of the information provided for analysis. Therefore, integrating an advanced analytical solution that tracks and monitors every task, goal, objective, resource, timeline, budget, and stakeholder feedback is imperative from the very beginning of a project’s lifecycle.
Verification vs. Validation
Verification and validation are two important concepts in project management that are often confused with each other. The project team can perform verification, but it is often helpful to have an independent third party do it. This can help to ensure that the project is meeting all its requirements, even if the project team has biases or blind spots. On the other hand, validation is best done by the users of the project. This is because the users are the ones who will be interacting with the project daily, and they are the ones who will be most affected by any flaws in the project. By combining verification and validation, project leaders can ensure that their projects are meeting both the requirements of the project and the needs of the users, which can improve the chances of project success.
- Ensures that the project meets its requirements.
- Can be done by the project team or an independent third party.
- Focuses on the technical aspects of the project.
- Helps to ensure that the project is built correctly.
- Ensures that the project meets the user's needs.
- Can be done by the users of the project.
- Focuses on the usability and functionality of the project.
- Helps to ensure that the project is built right.
The Importance of IV&V in Project Management
IV&V is essential for project success and risk mitigation. By having an independent third party evaluate and validate project plans and artifacts, organizations can gain valuable insights into potential errors and risks that could lead to time and cost overruns or system failures. IV&V provides assurance that the project is on track and aligns with the established requirements and objectives. IV&V can run a robust analysis through the project cycle and highlight problem areas, but it provides no guidance to avoid or recover from project failure. Thus, partnering with a predictive intelligence solution for continuous monitoring of project health that guides and forewarns you of risks weeks or even months in advance will be a prudent choice to lead your project to success.
IV&V can be used to verify that the project is meeting the following requirements:
- User requirements: Are the project's features meeting the needs of the users?
- Structural soundness: Is the project well-designed and implemented?
- Compliance with specifications: Is the project meeting all the required specifications?
- Security: Does the project include the necessary security components?
What You Must Consider When Implementing IV&V?
When implementing IV&V in project management, it is essential to consider the following:
Selecting the Right Independent Third Party - Choosing the right independent third party for IV&V is crucial. It is essential to consider their expertise, experience, and understanding of the project domain to ensure an effective assessment. Additionally, you must consider solutions that not only highlight problem areas but can forewarn and provide an in-depth analysis of the root cause of all major and minor issues at-a-glance to avoid project risks and failures.
Effective Communication and Collaboration - Effective communication and collaboration between project teams and the IV&V provider are essential for successful implementation. Clear communication channels and regular updates are necessary to ensure that the assessment aligns with the project's objectives. There are many solutions that offer a platform for collaboration and communication, but what you should look for in addition is one that provides insights based on stakeholder feedback.
Complexity of Systems - The complexity of the systems being evaluated can pose challenges in IV&V implementation. It requires a thorough understanding of the project's technical aspects and potential risks to provide an accurate assessment. Hence, consider utilizing advanced solutions that are agile and simplify the IV&V assessment process.
Effectiveness of IV&V in Project Management
IV&V is a proven methodology that identifies errors and mitigates risks that can lead to time and cost overruns or system failures. It is beneficial to identify high-risk areas as early as possible in a project, such as an ERP implementation. Early phase-based risk analysis leads to a decrease in failure rates, delays, costs, and customer satisfaction. Leverage an integrated solution that supports this process and is equipped with all the best practices and guidelines.
Popular Methods for IV&V in Project Management
There are several popular methods for IV&V in project management, including:
Process Verification - Project activity and processes are evaluated to make sure they are optimized and are consistently moving the project forward.
System Validation - The validation process answers the question, "Is it the right solution to the problem?" It evaluates the requirements, functional and physical architectures, and implementation.
Ongoing Project IV&V Monitoring - This involves reviewing and validating issues, deficiencies, and risks identified with the project.
Benefits of IV&V in Project Management
Implementing IV&V in project management offers several benefits. Some of these include:
Identification of Errors and Risk Mitigation - IV&V helps identify errors and mitigate risks early in the project lifecycle. By having an independent assessment, potential issues can be addressed promptly, reducing the likelihood of costly delays or failures.
Assurance and Neutral Assessment - IV&V provides assurance to project stakeholders that the project is being executed effectively and efficiently. The independent nature of IV&V ensures a neutral assessment, free from biases or conflicts of interest.
Improved Project Outcomes - With IV&V, organizations can improve project outcomes by proactively addressing potential issues and risks. By having an independent third party evaluate the project, organizations can make informed decisions and take corrective actions to ensure project success.
Utilizing advanced solutions that automate information discovery to predict failing projects and develop lagging and leading indicators can ensure the project stays on track and achieves success.
You must consider implementing advanced analytical solutions for project success. The key features you must look for while implementing advanced solutions are:
- At-a-glance access to important data,
- Identification of areas that need attention,
- Detection of anomalies and potential risks,
- Drill-down discovery and root cause analysis.
How To Get an Accurate IV&V Assessment
Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) is a crucial process that ensures the right product is built and, it is built right. IV&V is conducted by an independent third party to assess whether a system development effort is on track and to identify any potential issues. Overall, IV&V is an essential process that helps organizations achieve quality outcomes and mitigate risks. The effectiveness of an IV&V assessment depends on the accuracy and extent of the data provided. However, to ensure a comprehensive IV&V assessment, it is crucial to consider the stakeholder's perspective. Therefore, leveraging an advanced analytical solution that go beyond assessing data by proactively acquiring stakeholders' perspectives regularly will be the differentiator between surviving and thriving projects.
TrueProject is an advanced predictive intelligence solution that goes way beyond data and numbers and keeps stakeholder perspective at the core of its analysis. It can guide your team through the project lifecycle with real-time project health checks. It is a valuable tool for IV&V initiatives. TrueProject monitors every project-related task and engages stakeholders periodically to assess their viewpoints. This proactive approach detects potential challenges in advance, giving you early warnings weeks or even months before they arise. By leveraging TrueProject, you can obtain accurate and comprehensive data that is essential for an effective IV&V assessment.
More information on TrueProject can be found at www.trueprojectinsight.com
About the Author
Brian Eckert is the Director of Engineering for TrueProject. Brian has 30+ years of experience in software development and process. He specializes in Requirements Analysis, Software Project Management, and SDLC.
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