Intersect of (I)V&V

For about twenty years, I have been involved in Information Technology (IT) in both the public and private sectors. I have been a business analyst, a software tester, a test manager, and an independent verification and validation (IV&V) manager. I have taught software quality assurance at a Washington DC University. I co-authored the IEEE Std 829-2008, System and Software Test Documentation and I was involved in the development of the IEEE Std 1012-2004, Standard for Verification and Validation and I am currently part of the working group that is developing IEEE Std 1012-x to enhance best practices in system and hardware verification and validation in addition to the current software verification and validation.

Both in the classroom and on the client site I am asked to describe the difference between test and verification and validation. It is always difficult to explain that test performs a number of test tasks and that sometimes verification and validation performs duplicative test tasks.

Test is responsible for a wide-range of test tasks that occur throughout the system development life cycle. Early in the life cycle test will evaluate the requirements (system, software, interface) to insure that they can be validated. Test will become familiar with the concept documentation and the business needs. Later in the life cycle test will, based on the integrity level of the system, determine the necessary breadth and depth of testing. After preparing the required test documentation test will commence testing. This may result in testing each component, the integration of the components, system testing against the system requirements, and acceptance testing to validate that the system meets user needs. Or a determination may be made that test will do only acceptance testing while development is responsible for the earlier testing. After testing is completed test may prepare interim test

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reports or merely a final test report. These and other test tasks are fully described in IEEE Std. 829-2008.

If the development effort has a verification and validation component then, based on the identified integrity level of the system, verification and validation will evaluate the adequacy of the test tasks and/or perform its own test tasks in addition to the ones performed by test. If the verification and validation evaluation tasks are performed by persons outside of the development structure, budget, and management then they are called “independent.”

The Verification and validation component will accomplish various tasks in addition to evaluating the adequacy of the test tasks. The verification and validation tasks entail assessing the adequacy of development tasks. This determination is based on the assessment of development artifacts against applicable voluntary consensus standards (IEEE, ISO, ANSI). An assessment of the system development process would use ISO 15288 while an assessment of a requirements document would use IEEE Std. 1233. In addition to assessing the artifact against the applicable standard Verification and Validation assesses the artifact in terms of good engineering practices. Thus an assessment of a design document would not only include the applicable standard but also would include the flow-down of the architecture document, the business needs of the organization, and the system or software requirements. This engineering perspective distinguishes Verification and Validation from Quality Assurance. Another musing will provide additional discussion on the intersect of Quality Assurance and (Independent)Verification and Validation.

Information on determining the integrity level is fully described in IEEE Std. 829-2008 and IEEE Std. 1012-2004. If merited by the identified integrity level, verification and validation will also engage in testing. Their testing may be in parallel with that being done by test or it may be after that done by test.

Just as test has tasks that are performed within the context of the development life cycle so does verification and validation. Only some of these tasks will intersect with the tasks being performed by test. And just as the test tasks will vary according to the identified integrity level of the system being developed so will the verification and validation tasks vary according to the identified integrity level. The table below shows the intersection of recommended tasks for a project with a level 3 criticality level. Projects with lower levels, indicating they are less critical, will have fewer tasks. The selected system development life cycle phases are only examples. Every project will have its own life cycle phases.

Phase: Management

System Development Life Cycle Phase Task V&V Activity (based on 1012-2004) Test Activity(based on 829-2008)
Management Generate plan for implementing activity The (I)V&V Plan is generated using IEEE 1012-2004. The recommended tasks will be based on the identified integrity level. The Master Test Plan is generated using IEEE 829-2008. The recommended tasks will be based on the identified integrity level.
Review tasks/outputs of activity (I)V&V management reviews (I)V&V task reports and an anomaly reports generated a the completion of each task. Special reports and/or generated test documentation are reviewed. Test management reviews test documentation (plans, designs, cases, procedures, reports), anomalies, and test execution.
Support management and technical reviews All (I)V&V reports are inputs to and are considered at management and technical reviews. Test reports are inputs to project management meetings. Test plans are inputs to Test Readiness Review meetings.
Identify process improvement opportunities for activity All (I)V&V staff looks for opportunities for (I)V&V process improvement. This is an ongoing task. All test staff looks for opportunities for (I)V&V process improvement. This is an ongoing task.

Phase: Acquisition

System Development Life Cycle Phase Task V&V Activity (based on 1012-2004) Test Activity(based on 829-2008)
Acquisition Scope the activity This is a preliminary activity that forms the foundation for the (I)V&V Plan. This is a preliminary activity that forms the foundation for the Master Test Plan.
Plan the interface with the supplier This is a preliminary task and it provides input to the Request for Proposal and then to the Contract between the acquirer and supplier. This is a preliminary task and it provides input to the Request for Proposal and then to the Contract between the acquirer and supplier
Review system requirements Determine if the system requirements conform to IEEE Std 1233 and/or project specific standards. During this task (I)V&V determines if the individual and collective requirements meet the criterion for “goodness” specified in the standard. Determine whether or not the individual requirements can be validated. Validation can be done by test, analysis, inspection or demonstration. Validation is one of the “goodness” criterion.
Establish contract criteria for supplier/vendor This is done using the information developed in the task for interfacing with the organizational and supporting entities. Criteria may include method and frequency of contact, process for contact, and an identification of the contact person. This is

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done using the information developed in the task for interfacing with the organizational and supporting entities. Criteria may include method and frequency of contact, process for contact, and an identification of the contact person.

Phase: Supply

System Development Life Cycle Phase Task V&V Activity (based on 1012-2004) Test Activity(based on 829-2008)
Supply Identify integrity level of system (preliminary) If an integrity level for the system has been identified then it will be used by (I)V&V. Otherwise (I)V&V will recommend an integrity level. If an integrity level for the system has been identified then it will be used by test. Otherwise test will recommend an integrity level.
Re-plan the interface with the supplier If a plan for interfacing with the supplier was developed during the acquisition phase then it should be updated based on any

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new information (e.g. final contract). Otherwise a plan should be developed based on the contract and additional negotiation.

If a plan for interfacing with the supplier was developed during the acquisition phase then it should be updated based on any new information (e.g. final contract). Otherwise a plan should be developed based on the contract and additional negotiation.
Re-scope the activity If a preliminary scoping was accomplished during the acquisition phase then it should be reviewed and updated based on any new information (e.g., final contract). Otherwise a scoping of (I)V&V should take place now. This scoping becomes part of the (I)V&V Plan. If a preliminary scoping was accomplished during the acquisition phase then it should be reviewed and updated

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based on any new information (e.g., final contract). Otherwise a scoping of test should take place now. This scoping becomes part of the Master Test Plan.

Identify activity metrics Project level (I)V&V metrics include those that show anomalies in each process.Management level (I)V&V metrics include those that cover planned vs. actual time spent, dollars used, and activities performed. Project level metrics include those that show number of requirements satisfied, number of tests passed, age and level of deficiencies, and stability of the system.Management level test metrics include those that show planned vs. actual time spent and dollars used.

Phase: Development/Concept

System Development Life Cycle Phase Task V&V Activity (based on 1012-2004) Test Activity(based on 829-2008)
Development/Concept Re-identify integrity level If identified in the prior phase, then the current level should be examined based on currently available information. If no integrity level was identified then one should be identified now. If identified in the prior phase, then the current level should be examined based on currently available information. If no integrity level was identified then one should be identified now.
Review concept documentation Concept documentation may include a concept document and or a specification of business needs. If should be assessed against the applicable consensus standard. Concept documentation should be reviewed in order that test fully understand the business need for the system under development.
Review system requirements If not assessed previously, system requirements are assessed against the applicable consensus standard. The assessment includes a tracing of the needs identified in the concept documentation. The assessment determines the “goodness” of the system requirements both individually and collectively. If not done previously, system requirements are reviewed to determine that each requirement can be validated through inspection, demonstration, analysis, or test.
Generate test traceability matrix The test traceability matrix is assessed to determine that it identifies the source of each system requirement and, if applicable, which paragraph of the architectural design implements that requirement. The test traceability matrix is updated to include the source of each system requirement and the architectural design paragraph that implements that requirement.

Phase: Development/Requirements

System Development Life Cycle Phase Task V&V Activity (based on 1012-2004) Test Activity(based on 829-2008)
Development/Requirements Re-identify integrity level If identified in the prior phase, then the current level should be examined based on currently available information. If no integrity level was identified then one should be identified now. If identified in the prior phase, then the current level should be examined based on currently available information. If no integrity level was identified then one should be identified now.
Generate acceptance test plan If applicable, an (I)V&V acceptance test plan is generated based on the applicable consensus standard. Acceptance test plan is generated based on the applicable consensus standard. When generated the document will be assessed by (I)V&V.
Evaluate acceptance test plan Assess test generated acceptance test plan to verify conformance to applicable standard and to the criteria specified in IEEE 1012-2004.
Generate system test plan If applicable, an (I)V&V system test plan is generated based on the applicable consensus standard. System test plan is generated based on the applicable consensus standard. When generated the document will be assessed by (I)V&V.
Evaluate system test plan Assess test generated system test plan to verify conformance to applicable standard and to the criteria specified in IEEE 1012-2004.
Review software and interface requirements Software and interface requirements are assessed to determine “goodness” of the individual requirements and the set of requirements. These requirements are assessed based on the applicable consensus standard. These requirements are reviewed to determine they can be validated by inspection, demonstration, analysis, or test. Interface requirements form the basis for integration testing.
Update test traceability The test traceability matrix is assessed to determine that it identifies the source of each software and interface requirement. The test traceability matrix is updated to include the acceptance, system, and integration test cases that will validate each of the identified requirements.
Identify risks Risks to both the (I)V&V activity and to the project are identified and reported. Risks to both the test activity and the project are identified and reported.

Phase: Development/Design

System Development Life Cycle Phase Task V&V Activity (based on 1012-2004) Test Activity(based on 829-2008)
Development/ Design Re-identify integrity level If identified in the prior phase, then the current level should be examined based on currently available information. If no integrity level was identified then one should be identified now. If identified in the prior phase, then the current level should be examined based on currently available information. If no integrity level was identified then one should be identified now.
Generate acceptance

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test design

If applicable, an (I)V&V acceptance test design is generated based on the applicable standard. Acceptance test design is generated based on the applicable standard. When generated it will be assessed by (I)V&V.
Assess acceptance test design Assess to verify conformance to applicable standard.
Generate system test design If applicable, an (I)V&V system test design is generated based on the applicable standard. Acceptance test design is generated based on the applicable standard. When generated it will be assessed by (I)V&V.
Assess system test design Assess to verify conformance to applicable standard.
Generate integration test plan If applicable, an (I)V&V integration test plan is generated based on the applicable standard. Integration test plan is generated based on the applicable standard. When generated it will be assessed by (I)V&V.
Assess integration test plan Assess to verify conformance to applicable standard.
Generate integration test design If applicable, an (I)V&V integration test design is generated based on the applicable standard. Integration test design is generated based on the applicable standard. When generated it will be assessed by (I)V&V.
Assess integration test design Assess to verify conformance to applicable standard.
Generate component test plan If applicable, an (I)V&V component test plan is generated based on the applicable standard. Component test plan is generated based on the applicable standard. When generated it will be assessed by (I)V&V.
Assess component test plan Assess to verify conformance to applicable standard.
Generate component test design If applicable, an (I)V&V component test design is generated based on the applicable standard. Component test design is generated based on the applicable standard. When generated it will be assessed by (I)V&V.
Assess component test design Assess to verify conformance to applicable standard.
Identify activity risks Risks to both the (I)V&V activity and the project are identified and reported. Risks to both the test activity and the project are identified and reported.
Identify activity related security issues Issues related to security are identified and reported. Issues related to security are identified and reported.

Phase: Development/Implementation

System Development Life Cycle Phase Task V&V Activity (based on 1012-2004) Test Activity(based on 829-2008)
Development/ Implementation Re-identify integrity level If identified in the prior phase, then the current level should be examined based on currently available information. If no integrity level was identified then one should be identified now. If identified in the prior phase, then the current level should be examined based on currently available information. If no integrity level was identified then one should be identified now.
Generate acceptance test cases If applicable, (I)V&V acceptance test cases are generated based on the applicable standard. Acceptance test cases are generated based on the applicable standard. When generated they will be assessed by (I)V&V.
Assess acceptance test cases Assess to verify conformance with applicable standard
Generate system test cases If applicable, (I)V&V system test cases are generated based on the applicable standard. System test cases are generated based on the applicable standard. When generated they will be assessed by (I)V&V.
Assess system test cases Assess to verify conformance with applicable standard.
Generate integration test cases If applicable, (I)V&V integration test cases are generated based on the applicable standard. Integration test cases are generated based on the applicable standard. When generated they will be assessed by (I)V&V.
Assess integration test cases Assess to verify conformance with applicable standard.
Generate component test cases If applicable, (I)V&V component test cases are generated based on the applicable standard. Component test cases are generated based on the applicable standard. When generated they will be assessed by (I)V&V.
Assess component test cases Assess to verify conformance with

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applicable standard.

Perform test readiness reviews Participate in component test readiness review(s) and insure that integration test documentation has been baselined. Participate in component test readiness review(s) and insure that integration test documentation has been baselined.
Execute component testing If applicable, execute component test according to component test documentation. Implement component testing according to component test documentation.
Witness component testing Witness component test and verify that it is performed according to component test documentation. Verify that the results are correctly reported.
Assess component test results Validate that tests identified as “PASS” satisfy expected results. Validate that tests identified as “FAIL” are correctly reported. Evaluate test results to determine conformance to expected results and determine the reason for any deviation from expected results. Report test results. Report anomalies.
Prepare component test report If applicable, (I)V&V component test report is generated based on the applicable standard. Document is generated based on the applicable standard. When generated the document will be assessed by (I)V&V.
Assess component test report Assess to verify conformance to applicable standard.
Update test traceability matrix Assess the test traceability matrix to determine that it identifies which component tests will validate applicable requirements. Update the test traceability matrix to include those requirements to be validated by specific component tests.
Identify activity risks Risks to both the (I)V&V activity and the project are identified and reported. Risks to both the test activity and the project are identified and reported.
Identify activity related security issues Issues related to security are identified and reported. Issues related to security are identified and reported.

Phase: Development/Test

System Development Life Cycle Phase Task V&V Activity (based on 1012-2004) Test Activity(based on 829-2008)
Development/ Test Re-identify integrity level If identified in the prior phase, then the current level should be examined based on currently available information. If no integrity level was identified then one should be identified now. If identified in the prior phase, then the current level should be examined based on currently available information. If no integrity level was identified then one should be identified now.
Perform test readiness review(s) Participate in integration, system and acceptance test readiness review(s) and insure that the test documentation has been baselined. Participate in integration, system and acceptance test readiness review(s) and insure that the test documentation has been baselined.
Execute integration testing If required by the integrity level, execute integration test according to integration test documentation. Implement integration testing according to integration test documentation. May be witnessed by (I)V&V.
Witness integration testing Witness integration test and verify that is performed according to integration test documentation. Validate that results are correctly reported.
Assess integration test results Validate that tests identified as “PASS” satisfy expected results. Validate that tests identified as “FAIL” are correctly reported. Evaluate test results to determine conformance to expected results and determine the reason for any deviation from expected results. Report test results. Report anomalies.
Prepare integration test report Document is generated based on the applicable standard. When generated the document will be reviewed by (I)V&V.
Assess integration test report Assess to verify conformance to applicable standard. Asses the integration test report to insure correctness of the report.
Execute system testing If required by the integrity level, execute system test according to integration test documentation. Implement system testing according to system test documentation. May be witnessed by (I)V&V.
Witness system testing Witness system test and verify that is performed according to system test documentation. Validate that results are correctly reported.
Assess system test results Validate that tests identified as “PASS” satisfy expected results. Validate that tests identified as “FAIL” are correctly reported. Evaluate test results to determine conformance to expected results and determine the reason for any deviation from expected results. Report test results. Report anomalies.
Prepare system test report Document is generated based on the applicable standard. When generated the document will be reviewed by (I)V&V.
Assess system test report Assess to verify conformance to applicable standard. Asses the system test report to insure correctness of the report.
Execute acceptance testing If required by the integrity level, execute acceptance test according to integration test documentation. Implement acceptance testing according to acceptance test documentation. May be witnessed by (I)V&V.
Witness acceptance testing Witness acceptance test and verify that is performed according to acceptance test documentation. Validate that results are correctly reported.
Assess acceptance test results Validate that tests identified as “PASS” satisfy expected results. Validate that tests identified as “FAIL” are correctly reported. Evaluate test results to determine conformance to expected results and determine the reason for any deviation from expected results. Report test results. Report anomalies.
Prepare acceptance test report Asses the acceptance test report to insure correctness of the report. Document is generated based on the applicable standard. When generated the document will be reviewed by (I)V&V.
Assess acceptance

test report

Assess to verify conformance to applicable standard. Asses the system test report to insure correctness of the report.
Update test traceability matrix Assess that the test traceability matrix has been updated to include the status of each integration, system and acceptance test. When update, the document will be reviewed by (I)V&V.
Assess test traceability matrix Assess that the test traceability matrix has been updated to include the status of each integration, system and acceptance test.
Identify activity risks Risks to both the (I)V&V activity and the project are identified and reported. Risks to both the test activity and the project are identified and reported.
Identify activity related security issues Issues related to security are identified and reported. Issues related to security are identified and reported.

Phase: Development/Installation & Checkout

System Development Life Cycle Phase Task V&V Activity (based on 1012-2004) Test Activity(based on 829-2008)
Development/ Installation & Checkout Support configuration audits Support the functional configuration audit that insures that tests were executed according to the documentation, satisfied the requirements, and discrepancies were documented. Support the physical configuration audit that establishes the production baseline. Support the functional configuration audit that insures that tests were executed according to the documentation, satisfied the requirements, and discrepancies were documented. Support the physical configuration audit that establishes the production baseline.
Perform installation & checkout Witness installation & checkout. Validate that the subset of acceptance tests are adequate to provide a broad range of required functionality. Validate that the diagnostic tests are adequate. Validate that all local parameters are set correctly. Installation & checkout tests may be composed of a subset of acceptance tests and COTS diagnostic tests. May be witnessed by (I)V&V.
Assess installation & checkout Validate that tests identified as “PASS” satisfy expected results. Validate that tests identified as “FAIL” are correctly reported Evaluate test results to determine conformance to expected results and determine the reason for any deviation from the expected results. Report test results. Report anomalies.
Prepare installation & checkout report Document is generated based on the applicable standard. When generated the document will be assessed by (I)V&V.
Assess installation & checkout report. Assess the acceptance test report to insure correctness of the report
Identify activity risks Risks to both the (I)V&V activity and the project are identified and reported. Risks to both the test activity and the project are identified and reported.
Identify activity related security issues Issues related to security are identified and reported. Issues related to security are identified and reported.

Phase: Operation

System Development Life Cycle Phase Task V&V Activity (based on 1012-2004) Test Activity(based on 829-2008)
Operation Review operating procedures Assess operating procedures document to verify conformance to applicable standard. Asses operating procedures to insure completeness and applicability to target group. Review operating procedures to develop acceptance tests.
Execute operational tests If required by the integrity level, execute operational test according to operational test documentation. Implement operational testing according to operational test documentation. May be witnessed by (I)V&V.
Witness operational tests Witness operational test and verify that is performed according to operational test documentation. Validate that results are correctly reported.
Assess operational tests Validate that tests identified as “PASS” satisfy expected results. Validate that tests identified as “FAIL” are correctly reported. Evaluate test results to determine conformance to expected results and determine the reason for any deviation from expected results. Report test results. Report anomalies.
Prepare operational test report Asses the operational test report to insure correctness of the report. Assess operational test report to verify conformance to applicable standard. Document is generated based on the applicable standard. When generated the document will be reviewed by (I)V&V.
Identify activity risks Risks to both the (I)V&V activity and the project are identified and reported. Risks to both the test activity and the project are identified and reported.
Identify activity related security issues Issues related to security are identified and reported. Issues related to security are identified and reported.

Phase: Maintenance

System Development Life Cycle Phase Task V&V Activity (based on 1012-2004) Test Activity(based on 829-2008)
Maintenance Revise affected documentation As required by the integrity level update integration, system, and acceptance test documentation (plan, design, cases, procedures) for all new functionality. Documents are generated based on applicable standards. Update integration, system, and acceptance test documentation (plan, design, cases, procedures) for all new functionality. Documents are generated based on applicable standards. When generated the documents will be assessed by (I)V&V.
Assess revise documentation Assess the revised test documentation to insure correctness of the documentation. Assess the revised test documentation to insure conformance to the applicable standards.
Assess operational anomalies Assess operational anomalies to improve acceptance test cases. Assess operational anomalies to improve acceptance test cases.
Iterate tasks Assess new requirements and new design documents. If required by integrity level, generate new test documentation or modify existing test documentation. Execute and analyze test results and generate test reports. Identify risks and process improvement opportunities. Review new requirements and new design documents. Generate new test documentation or modify existing test documentation. Execute and analyze test results and generate test reports. Identify risks and process improvement opportunities.

As can be seen above verification and validation is responsible for many of the same tasks as is test albeit from a different perspective. Both efforts have to be planned, managed, and executed. In both instances there will be interfaces with other organizational and supporting entities.

For systems with a lower integrity level verification and validation only may review the documentation created by test and witness test execution. For systems with a higher integrity level, verification and validation may review the documentation created by test and generate its own test

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documentation. It may witness test execution and perform its own tests based on its own test documentation.

Conclusion:

Even though many organizations think of verification as being the same as test, I have shown that for high integrity systems both should be implemented. For low integrity systems that provide a low risk to the acquiring organization having only project level testing may be adequate.

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