Like any product, software undergoes a development process to prepare it for consumer use. Validation testing in software development confirms an application’s been built to meet a user’s needs and functions as anticipated. Whether you’re new to validation testing or want to be sure you’re on the right track with your validating process, this post will help ensure you meet your client’s requirements.
Validation Testing - Software Verification vs. Software Validation
Software testing examines software’s functionality and behavior through verification and validation. Though people often use the terms interchangeably, they are distinct processes:
- Verification determines if the software meets various, specific requirements. It’s performed at every stage of the development life cycle and ensures code logic is aligned with product specifications.
- Validation checks to see if the end product meets the client’s needs and desires. It’s typically conducted at the end of the software development process and focuses solely on output; that is, it doesn’t concern itself with internal processes or technical intricacies.
In short, validation testing is a one-time process that begins only after all verifications are complete. Software development teams use various validation methods, including functional and non-functional testing or structural/design testing.
Why Software Validation Testing Matters
All software development models require code review to ensure the product both works as intended and doesn’t contain bugs, defects, or errors.
A software validation test guarantees the final product is ready for release and meets a customer’s expectations, so it’s important to get it right. Particularly as nearly 70% of consumers say a bad app experience will make them abandon it altogether. But how do you know if you’re doing it right, and when do you know it’s done?
Let’s break down the different phases and techniques.
1. Design qualification
Design qualification (DQ) occurs before product launch. It includes creating a list of end-user business requirements, designing a validation testing plan, and seeking approval from managers or shareholders before the testing process begins.
2. Installation qualification
Installation qualification (IQ) entails installing the software according to the validation testing plan. The software development team might ensure that the system hardware and the installation process itself match the design specifications. They also confirm that the test environment is suitable for product operation and matches the environment in which the product is likely to perform once it’s released.
3. Operational qualification
During operational qualification (OQ), the development team uses various operations to test the product and ensure it meets specified user requirements. Essential techniques include unit, integration, and system testing, each of which helps determine if different elements of the software function according to user requirements.
4. Performance qualification
To verify a product can perform according to its real-world needs, development teams conduct performance qualification or PQ testing. Developers might also perform alpha testing to assess the software’s functionality under simulated real-world conditions. In addition, clients are often offered the opportunity to test the product through a process known as beta testing, where they use the product themselves and identify any bugs or technical challenges.
Sometimes the validation process includes functionality testing such as:
- Unit testing to search for bugs in different segments.
- Integration testing (aka string testing or thread testing) to test interfaces and flow of data.
- System testing to evaluate end-to-end specifications.
Once all validation testing phases are complete, the software product can go into production and be marketed and sold to consumers. If a major technical bug is subsequently discovered, the development team can address it by developing and releasing one or more software updates.
Ultimately, software validation testing helps reduce the chance of product failure and improves the reliability of the end product.
Different software development methods use verification and validation in different ways. For instance, in agile development, the two happen simultaneously, as there’s a need for continuous refinement based on end-user feedback.
While no application is entirely bug-free, Zibtek’s verification and testing process is designed to help you achieve your software development goals and fulfill all stakeholders’ expectations with minimal defects. Since 2009, our clients have depended on us to deliver software products that suit their unique needs and help them accomplish their business goals. Ready to learn more? Get in touch to schedule a meeting.