Independent Verification and Validation

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Enterprise Performance Life Cycle (EPLC) is a framework to enhance Information Technology (IT) governance through rigorous application of sound investment and project management principles, and industry best practices. The EPLC provides the context for the governance process and describes interdependencies between its project management, investment management, and capital planning components. The EPLC framework establishes an environment in which HHS IT investments and projects consistently achieve successful outcomes that align with Department and Operating Division goals and objectives.

The Enterprise Performance Life Cycle (EPLC) Framework defines IV&V as a rigorous independent process that evaluates the correctness and quality of the project's business product to ensure that it is being developed in accordance with customer requirements and is well-engineered. It recognizes that IV&V partnerships provide high value to many projects and may be introduced at any Phase of a project as determined by the project's sponsorship and/or Operating Division's governance requirements.

EPLC requires the development of an IV&V plan early in the project's life, as a part of the Project Management Plan (PMP), and an IV&V Assessment Project Review at the conclusion of the Development Phase. Depending on project size, risk and other factors, the IT Governance organization should determine the appropriate IV&V activities and may approve tailoring the EPLC IV&V requirements to match the project requirements.

IV&V should be performed by parties not directly engaged in the development of the project with the purpose of assessing the correctness and quality of a project's product. Typically IV&V reviews, analyzes, evaluates, inspects, and tests the project's product and processes. This analysis includes the operational environment, hardware, software, interfacing applications, documentation, operators, and users to ensure that the product is well-engineered, and is being developed in accordance with customer requirements.

IV&V provides management with an independent perspective on project activities and promotes early detection of project/product variances. This allows the project to implement corrective actions to bring the project back in-line with agreed-upon expectations. Objectives of performing IV&V include:

IV&V findings and reports provide supporting evidence that the product does satisfy client requirements. IV&V should be performed throughout the project's life and can be executed incrementally at specific points in the life cycle or be performed in a manner that is integrated into all project efforts. Although costs increase, IV&V is most effective when integrated into the entire project life cycle, conducted in parallel with the project and product development activities.

IV&V stands for:

Maintaining independence of the verification and validation process is an essential element of the IV&V process. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers standard for Software Verification and Validation (IEEE Std 1012 - 2004) defines independence in IV&V using three main parameters:

Verification - “Are we building the product right?”
Verification is a quality control technique that is used to evaluate the system or its components to determine whether or not the project's products satisfy defined requirements. During verification, the project's processes are reviewed and examined by members of the IV&V team with the goal of preventing omissions, spotting problems, and ensuring the product is being developed correctly. Some Verification activities may include items such as:

Some verification techniques may include static testing approaches that check the sanity of code, algorithms used, documentation, etc., of the product with the primary concern of verifying and ensuring proper use of syntax throughout the project's products. Some approaches that may be applied to execute static testing techniques could include:

Validation - “Are we building the right product?”
Validation is the process of establishing documented evidence that provides a high degree of assurance that a product, service, or system accomplishes its intended requirements, and validate that the product being developed does what the user is expecting it to do. This is facilitated by validating that requirements are adequately defined, designs and functionality conform to requirements, data is treated correctly, and that test results are accurate. Some validation techniques may include dynamic testing approaches that test by examining the product's physical response to changing variables. This type of testing helps ensure the product's output is as expected. Some phases of dynamic testing techniques may include:

Planning and obtaining IV&V services should begin early in the project's life. The Project Sponsor and governance entities should consider IV&V activities depending on project size, risk and other factors, and select those appropriate to match the project requirements. A list of potential IV&V activities for consideration is available in the IV&V Activities Job Aid. At a high level, IV&V activities include items such as:

When performing IV&V activities the effort and content of any documentation produced from it should answer questions such as:

Best Practices

Practice Activities
Project & Governance Activities

IV&V Provider Activities