IV&V, PM and You

Having a PMP certification provides tools and guidance for managing budget, schedule and resources.  However managing verification and validation (V&V) projects takes more than that.  A strong working knowledge of the IEEE standards for system and software engineering is a must. In particular, a strong working knowledge of the IEEE Std 1012:2012 is required.  This is the standard that governs verification and validation (V&V) activities throughout the development life cycle.

Whenever V&V activities are performed by those having technical, managerial and financial independence from the development effort it is known as independent verification and validation (IV&V). Without this independence the activities are merely verification and validation (V&V).  Both may perform the same tasks however those who are independent may be better able to “speak truth to power” and provide more objective evidence than those who are not independent.

The management of independent verification and validation IV&V is more than hiring the right staff. Project management activities, such as cost and schedule management, that are common to all projects are not addressed  here. Instead, only the the outputs of IV&V are the focus of of the IV&V manager.

As the IV&V manager you bear responsibility for everything IV&V throughout the life cycle processes. These include, according to IEEE Std 1012:2012:

  • Continual review of the IV&V effort
  • Revision of the IV&V Plan based on updated project schedule and development status or change in tasking
  • Coordination of the IV&V results with other parties performing life cycle activities
  • Performance of review and audits
  • Identification of process improvement opportunities in the conduct of IV&V

As if these were not enough, the IV&V manager is also responsible for assessing each proposed change to the system, software, or hardware baseline. This assessment must include any requirements that might be affected by the change.  Each proposed change may introduce new hazards or risks in the development process and these also must be anticipated and assessed.  New IV&V tasks may be needed to address the proposed change and these must be planned.  The proposed change may also impact on the assigned integrity level.  If so, a change will have to be made to the scope or intensity of the existing IV&V tasks.

In addition to coordinating IV&V results with others in a timely manner, the IV&V manager consolidates the these results to establish supporting evidence of whether to proceed to the next stage of the project life cycle.  This supporting evidence is presented at key program milestones (e.g., requirements review, design review and test readiness review).

The IV&V manager is responsible for these tasks which are performed as required by the selected integrity level:

  • Generating  the IV&V Plan
  • Interfacing with other processes
  • Assessing proposed baseline changes
  • Reviewing the IV&V effort
  • Supporting management and technical reviews
  • Identifying process improvement opportunities in the conduct of IV&V
  • Generating the IV&V Final Report

As the manager, you also may be required to provide a rationale for the desired integrity level, develop IV&V metrics and provide timely notification of possible risk issues along with recommended resolution. Finally,  IV&V may be called upon to do its own testing in which case IV&V then develops its own test  design, plans,cases and procedures.

The IV&V manager must wear big big shoes.  Are you ready to fill them?