Written by Kevin Heisey
on April 02, 2021

As organizations digitally transform their processes, automate their operations and build new products, they are seeking independent assessments to validate what changes are needed, how changes should be implemented and the changes that are made. Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) is traditionally used by organizations to mitigate the risk of implementing changes that aren’t needed, don’t serve the purposes for which they are built or fail to deliver as expected.

Validation and testing only make up about 15% of the overall IV&V lifecycle effort. A significant amount of activity occurs long before testing, starting when a concept is initially introduced. IV&V assesses if the concept is based on a sound foundation, if Stakeholders are involved in evaluating the concept or if the materials and process to carry out the new concept exist.

The IV&V process not only helps you to avoid risk, but also better understand the nature of the risk you are dealing with. This will help you be better equipped to make sound risk/reward decisions and take steps to mitigate risk. The benefits of IV&V are further heightened when it is implemented in an Agile manner that incorporates independent expertise from the outset.

Why Agile IV&V?

With more organizations adopting Agile Product approaches to their transformation initiatives, IV&V that merely ensures a project was carried out correctly and that it sufficiently meets the stated needs is not enough to fully realize value from your transformation efforts. Conducting IV&V using Agile, Lean, Scrum and Product principles provides greater transparency throughout the process, fast actionable feedback and a continuous loop of communication with your teams. Agile IV&V helps keep teams on track throughout the process and allows for quicker identification and remediation of issues, saving time and resources.

Here’s an example of how Agile IV&V works:

  • An IV&V team can work alongside your teams for a series of two-week Sprints.

  • At the end of each Sprint, the IV&V team provides an Activity Report that helps shape future Sprints and gives your teams a chance to react and engage with the IV&V team to provide added context or clarification. The Sprint Activity Reports represent milestones that are like chapters in the final IV&V Report.

  • The continuous feedback and interaction between the teams leads to a robust Final Report with no surprises or issues that have not been addressed as they arose as part of the Agile IV&V process..

Having an independent team of experts embedded throughout the process allows them to gain insight that can lead to valuable recommendations and direction beyond the scope of the engagement. In a relatively short timeframe, IV&V teams can identify blind spots and opportunities to enhance security, processes or approaches that add value that lasts beyond the IV&V engagement.

Using Agile IV&V to Turn Change Into Value®

A strong IV&V partner should have domain expertise in your business and IT fields as well as the type of programs, projects and systems you are seeking to implement. They can work with you to understand your unique needs, validate your plans, find gaps, highlight what you are doing well, identify opportunities and provide actionable recommendations to improve your plans and ensure your transformation efforts are successful. When leveraging Agile IV&V for rapid, short-term or large, long-term, multi-year programs, you are able to mitigate risks like cost overruns and scheduling delays while optimizing the new technology and processes to create the most business value.