The need for verification and validation in software testing

7 August 2023

Verification and validation are two key methods for software testing. (Image – Shutterstock)

When it comes to software testing, verification and validation are two important concepts – and they’re not the same.

Software testing is a systematic process of evaluating a software application or program to ensure that it functions correctly, meets its intended requirements and delivers the desired outcomes. The primary goal is to identify defects, bugs, or errors in the software that could lead to malfunctions, incorrect results, or unintended behavior.

Software testing involves various techniques and methods to assess different aspects of the software, including its functionality, performance, security, and user experience. The testing process aims to uncover issues early in the development cycle, so that they can be addressed and resolved before the software is released to users.

Verification and validation in software testing are used to ensure the quality and correctness of software applications. Verification is the process of evaluating a software system or component to determine whether it meets the specified design and development requirements. Put simply, it’s about checking if the software is being built correctly. It involves activities like reviews, inspections, walkthroughs, and static analysis. The goal of verification is to make sure that the software is being developed according to the established standards and guidelines.

Without verification and validation in software testing, your code could be gibberish.

Without verification and validation in software testing, your code could be gibberish.

Verification activities include:

  • Code reviews: Developers review each other’s code to identify errors, adherence to coding standards, and potential issues.
  • Design inspections: The design documents are reviewed to ensure that they are complete, consistent, and in line with the requirements.
  • Requirement analysis: Checking if the documented requirements are clear, complete, and feasible before the development starts.
  • Static code analysis: Automated tools analyze the code for potential issues like coding style violations, potential bugs, and security vulnerabilities.

Validation, on the other hand, is the process of evaluating a software system to determine whether it meets the user’s actual needs and expectations. It’s about ensuring that the software is doing the right thing. Validation activities involve dynamic testing, user feedback, and functional testing. The goal of validation is to ensure that the software fulfills its intended purpose in a real-world scenario.

Validation activities include:

  • Functional testing: Testing the software against its functional requirements to ensure that it performs as intended.
  • User Acceptance testing: End-users or representatives from the user community test the software to discover whether or not it meets their real-world needs.
  • System testing: Testing the complete software system to validate its behavior as a whole, considering interactions between different components.
  • Beta testing: Releasing the software to a limited group of users to gather feedback and identify any issues in real-world usage.

In essence, verification focuses on building the software correctly by adhering to the design and coding standards, while validation focuses on building the right software by ensuring it meets user needs and expectations. Both verification and validation are integral parts of the software development and testing process, working together to ensure a high-quality final product.

Verification and validation in software testing can make a difference.

Software testing is critical prior to release.

Characteristics of an effective software tester

The role of a software tester encompasses critical responsibilities in ensuring the proper functioning of software applications. When a new software program is conceived, these professionals play a vital role in upholding quality by designing and executing comprehensive testing protocols.

Whether it’s prominent corporations devising innovative solutions or businesses working on or upgrading existing applications, the act of software testing is an imperative step for assessing system efficacy. Certifications in software testing are essential – which is why the International Software Test Institute is helping IT companies and experts gain accreditation.

Employed by software development firms, software testing engineers also function as the ultimate quality evaluators before software is rolled out to the general public. Typically, the software testing team comprises a blend of specialists adept at conducting successful tests during the development phase.

Some software testing verification and validation is outsourced, rather than managed in-house. But there are both pros and cons to doing this.

Despite the existence of contemporary tools capable of flagging software issues, the input of software testing engineers remains indispensable in providing human insights. Their contributions extend to assessing user experiences with new software, identifying glitches, and troubleshooting problems. The Institute offers three prominent online certification programs in software testing.

With the demand for software testing engineers on a steady rise, Denis Sheremetov, CTO of Onix-Systems, notes that the role of a software tester has gained prominence within software project teams and companies at large.

In a recent blog post, he explains that these professionals are evolving into comprehensive software quality assurance engineers, amalgamating domain expertise, testing acumen, and technical proficiencies while actively participating in multiple developmental processes. This, in turn, significantly bolsters the overall quality of software products.

Sheremetov also pointed out that companies need to ensure they have a proper software testing team structure. He emphasizes the need to clearly define roles and responsibilities, as well as ensure a hierarchy is well established and properly distributed among the team members.

Verification and validation in software testing stops everyone getting frustrated with your software.

Verification and validation in software testing stops everyone getting frustrated with your software.

“When the team is well organized, the work can be handled well. If every team member knows what duties he or she has to perform, they will be able to finish their duties as required well within the time limit. It is important to keep track of the testers’ performance. It is very important to check what kind of defects the tester is able to uncover and what kind of detects they tend to miss. This will give you a fair idea about how serious your team is about the work” he said.