What is a Requirements Validation: Definition, Process & Tools
Requirements validation is the process of checking that requirements are defined for development, and defining the system that the customer really wants. To check issues related to requirements, we perform requirements validation. Requirements validation usually helps us detect errors at an early stage of product development so that it does not result in excessive rework when detected later in the software development life cycle. In this blog post, we will look at what Requirements Validation is, its Process, and various Tools used for Requirements Validation.
What is Requirement Validation?
Validation is a process used for checking if the system is up to the mark or not. Validation answers the question, “Are we building the right system?” It is about testing and validating the system and seeing if the system we built is right or not and if it meets the customer’s expectations or not. Various methods that are used to validate the system include black-box testing, white-box testing, integration testing, and unit testing. Validation always comes after verification. We usually use requirements validation to check errors at the initial development phase as the error may increase excessive rework when detected later in the development process. Requirements validation is important as it helps us to validate that the requirements match the ideal rules and standards.
Verification is a process used for checking if the system achieves its expected goals or not without any bugs or issues. Verification answers the question, “Are we building the product right?” It is about testing and verifying if the system meets its requirements without any problems. Various methods that are used to verify the system include reviews, walkthroughs, inspections, and desk checkings. Verification is a manual process done before validation.
Validation VS Verification:
People often get confused between verification and validation. Actually, they are not the same.
According to the 4th edition of the Project Management Body of Knowledge,
- Validation: The assurance that a product, service, or system meets the needs of the customer and other identified stakeholders. It often involves acceptance and suitability with external customers. “Contrast with verification”.
- Verification: The evaluation of whether or not a product, service, or system complies with a regulation, requirement, specification, or imposed condition. It is often an internal process. “Contrast with validation”.
In simpler terms, Requirements verification is the process of confirming that the system requirements contain all the necessary elements of well-written requirements. Requirements validation is the process of confirming that the system meets its objectives and functions as intended. Verification focuses on checking whether the requirements are complete, correct, and consistent, whereas validation focuses on checking whether the system meets its objectives and functions as intended.
Why is it important to Validate?
Validating the requirements helps check issues related to the requirements specified during previous activities of requirements engineering. Usually, the validation is used to identify any errors in the initial phases of the development cycle. If these errors are not detected on time, they might excessively increase the work. Validation ensures accuracy and clarity in the data by mitigating any defects in the requirements collected. Without validation, there is a high risk of inaccurate data which would result in inaccurate outcomes. Also, the major advantage of validating the requirements is that it reduces the maintenance cost. A strong base ensures a robust project structure and reduced chances of failures and rejections.
When to Validate?
“Requirements Validation is an ongoing process to ensure that stakeholders, solution, and transition requirements align to the business requirements” – BABok
We must perform validation at each and every stage during requirements engineering. During elicitation, go back and cross-check the requirements and the sources through which the requirements were gathered. During analysis and negotiation, validate the final requirement document and see if we got the right and valid requirements or not. During specification, cross-check that the requirements specified in the document match what the users need or expect. Also, we validate that the requirements match the ideal rules and standards.
There are various techniques that can be used to validate the requirements. They include:
- Checks – While checking the requirements, we proofread the requirements documents to ensure that no elicitation notes are missed out. During these checks, we also check the traceability level between all the requirements. For this, the creation of a traceability matrix is required. This matrix ensures that all the requirements are being considered seriously and everything that is specified is justified. We also check the format of requirements during these checks. We see if the requirements are clear and well-written or not.
- Prototyping – This is a way of building a model or simulation of the system that is to be built by the developers. This is a very popular technique for requirements validation among stakeholders and users as it helps them to easily identify the problems. We can just reach out to the users and stakeholders and get their feedback.
- Test Design – During test designing, we follow a small procedure where we first finalize the testing team, then build a few testing scenarios. Functional tests can be derived from the requirements specification itself where each requirement has an associated test. On the contrary, the non-functional requirements are hard to test as each test has to be traced back to its requirement. The aim of this is to figure out the errors in the specification or the details that are missed out.
- Requirements Review – During requirement review, a group of knowledgeable people analyze the requirements in a structured and detailed manner and identify the potential problems. After that, they gather up to discuss the issues and figure out a way to address the issues. A checklist is prepared consisting of various standards and the reviewers check the boxes to provide a formal review. After that, a final approval sign-off is done.
Principles of Requirements Validation:
Considering the following six principles of requirements validation increases the quality of the validation results:
- Principle 1: Involvement of the correct stakeholders
- Principle 2: Separating the identification and the correction of errors
- Principle 3: Validation from different views
- Principle 4: Adequate change of documentation type
- Principle 5: Construction of development artifacts
- Principle 6: Repeated validation.
Requisites for Requirements Validation:
- Requirements Documents – This should be a complete version of the document, not an unfinished draft. Formatted and organized according to organizational standards
- Organizational Knowledge – Knowledge, often implicit, of the organization which may be used to judge the realism of the requirements
- Organizational Standards – Local standards e.g. for the organization of the requirements document.
Requirements Validation Outputs:
- Problem List – List of discovered problems in the requirements document
- Agreed Actions – List of agreed actions in response to requirements problems. Some problems may have several corrective actions; some problems may have no associated actions.
Visure Requirements ALM Platform:
Visure Solutions is one of the most trusted modern ALM platforms that specialize in requirements management for organizations of all sizes across the globe. By using this platform, you can reduce the risks and improve the quality of our products. It’s a must-have tool for teams building complex products, systems, and software, which require end-to-end traceability from conception to testing and deployment, all the way to source code, along with standard certification compliance, and thorough requirements validation.
Visure integrates through the whole ALM processes including risk management, issue and defect tracking, traceability management, change management, and various other areas like quality analysis, requirements versioning, validation, and powerful reporting.
Requirements validation is the process of assessing whether or not the requirements for a system or product meet the needs of the stakeholders. The importance of requirements validation cannot be overstated; if the requirements are not correct, then the resulting system or product will not meet the needs of the stakeholders. There are many tools and techniques available for performing requirements validation, and Visure Requirements ALM Platform is one of the most comprehensive and easy-to-use solutions. Request a free 30-day trial at Visure Requirements ALM Platform to see how this powerful tool can help you ensure that your requirements are correct and that your systems and products meet your stakeholders’ needs.