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What is a Requirements Validation: Definition, Process & Tools

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What is Requirement Validation?

Validation answers the question, “Are we building the right system?” Requirements validation is the process of checking that the defined requirements are for development, and defining the system that the customer really wants. Requirements validation 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 system development life cycle. In this blog post, we will look at what Requirements Validation is, its Process, and various Tools used for Requirements Validation. 

Validation VS Verification:

According to the IREB glossary of Requirements Engineering Terminology:

Validation is the process of confirming that an item (a system, a work product or a part thereof) matches its stakeholders’ needs. In Requirements Engineering, validation is the process of confirming that the documented requirements match their stakeholders’ needs; in other words: whether the right requirements have been specified.

Verification is the process of confirming that an item (a system, a work product, or a part thereof) fulfills its specification. Requirements verification is the process of confirming that the requirements have been documented properly and satisfy the quality criteria for requirements; in other words, whether the requirements have been specified right

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 written requirements agree with the stakeholders’ requests.

In other words, verification is about checking whether the requirements are complete, correct, and consistent. Validation is about checking whether the requirements describe the intended system objectives and functions.

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 errors in the initial phases of the development cycle related to misunderstandings in the requirements-gathering process. 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 that will lead to stakeholders rejecting the system after it has been built; which implies delays and over-costs that could have been avoided. 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 with the stakeholders to ensure that we got the right and valid requirements. 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. 

Validation Techniques:

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 properly considered 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, detect missing requirements and understand how technology can help them. 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 the testing team build a few testing scenarios. Tests have to be derived from the requirements specification The aim of this process is to figure out the errors in the specification or the details that are missed out leading to difficulties in the definition of the test scenarios.
  • Requirements Review – During requirement review, a group of knowledgeable people analyze the requirements in a structured and detailed manner and identify potential problems. After that, they gather up to discuss the issues and figure out a way to address the issues. A checklist is prepared that the reviewers fill up to provide a formal output of the review. After that, a final approval sign-off is done. 

Principles of Requirements Validation:

According to the IREB syllabus, considering the following four 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: Repeated validation.

Other Aspects To Be Taken Into Account To Ensure An Effective Requirements Validation Process:

  • Requirements Documents – The document to be validated should be a finished version, not an unfinished draft. Formatted and organized according to organizational standards
  • Organizational Knowledge – Knowledge, often implicit, of the organization, will be very helpful to judge the realism of the requirements
  • Organizational Standards – Local standards should be followed 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.

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. 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.

ALM Platform

Visure Solutions is a software platform that offers features and tools that can help in effective requirements validation by providing the following capabilities:

  1. Traceability Management: Visure allows users to establish traceability between requirements, test cases, defects, and other artifacts. This helps in validating requirements by ensuring that they are linked to the appropriate test cases, which can be used to verify that the requirements are being met.
  2. Requirements Verification: Visure offers a requirements verification module that allows users to define verification methods and criteria for requirements. This helps in ensuring that requirements are complete, consistent, accurate, and meet industry standards.
  3. Visure’s Commenting Feature: Visure’s Commenting feature allows all stakeholders and team members to be involved in every discussion before any changes are made to projects. This results not only in higher quality decisions but greater collaboration and productivity as well. On top of that, teams can reduce the number of alterations across projects with Visure; leading to decreased cycle times and development costs.
  4. Data Models: Visure offers a wide range of development processes, such as Agile and V-model. It thoroughly examines your specific needs to provide tailored data models that can be customized according to your preferences. With this system, you have the ability to trace requirements with each item in detail – including testing, defects, and risk. Plus, configuring elements and components across all projects within Visure is effortless!
  5. Requirements Versioning: Every time you make a modification to an element, it is saved and stored instantly in real-time. The newly created version will be recorded under the version history. With each new version that is made, automatically generated suspect links are triggered back to all of the elements modified within this instance.
  6. Suspect Links: Identifying when something has shifted is a crucial part of any team’s workflow, and Visure offers an innovative tool to make it easier. The Suspect Link Cleaner allows everyone on the team to see what changes have been undertaken and approve them in no time.
  7. Workflows: To achieve alignment and comprehensive traceability with Visure, start by identifying your attribute workflow and defining requirements precisely. Customize your workflow to transition between stages, specify user access, and set up automated notifications and scripts within the tool.

Conclusion:

Requirements validation is the process of assessing whether or not the requirements for a system or product meet the needs and expectations 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 be accepted by 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.

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