Software Validation and Verification

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Software Validation and Verification A. Concepts and Definitions Software Verification and Validation (V&V) is the process of ensuring that software being developed or changed will satisfy functional and other requirements (validation) and each step in the process of building the software yields the right products (verification). The differences between verification and validation are unimportant except to the theorist; practitioners use the term V&V to refer to all of the activities that are aimed at making sure the software will function as required. V&V is intended to be a systematic and technical evaluation of software and associated products of the development and maintenance processes. Reviews and tests are done at the end of each phase of the development process to ensure software requirements are complete and testable and that design, code, documentation, and data satisfy those requirements. B. Activities The two major V&V activities are reviews, including inspections and walkthroughs, and testing. 1. Reviews, Inspections, and Walkthroughs Reviews are conducted during and at the end of each phase of the life cycle to determine whether established requirements, design concepts, and specifications have been met. Reviews consist of the presentation of material to a review board or panel. Reviews are most effective when conducted by personnel who have not been directly involved in the development of the software being reviewed. Informal reviews are conducted on an as-needed basis. The developer chooses a review panel and provides and/or presents the material to be reviewed. The material may be as informal as a computer listing or hand-written documentation. Formal reviews are conducted at the end of each life cycle phase. The acquirer of the software appoints the formal review panel or board, who may make or affect a go/no-go decision to proceed to the next step of the life cycle. Formal reviews include the Software Requirements Review, the Software Preliminary Design Review, the Software Critical Design Review, and the Software Test Readiness Review. An inspection or walkthrough is a detailed examination of a product on a step-by-step or line-of-code by line-of-code basis. The purpose of conducting inspections and walkthroughs is to find errors. The group that does an inspection or walkthrough is composed of peers from development, test, and quality assurance. 2. Testing Testing is the operation of the software with real or simulated inputs to demonstrate that a product satisfies its requirements and, if it does not, to identify the specific differences between expected and actual results. There are varied levels of software tests, ranging from unit or element testing through integration testing and performance testing, up to software system and acceptance tests. a. Informal Testing Informal tests are done by the developer to measure the
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