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Independent Verification & Validation (IV&V) for Agile Developed Projects

Conference Paper
This IEEE publication highlights an Agile approach to Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) which can be particularly useful for projects using an Agile development methodology.


DOI (Digital Object Identifier)


Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) is performed by a team of analysts independent from the development. IV&V is common in both the public and private sectors and can range from a risk mitigation strategy to a requirement levied by a safety board or law. The level of independence, and means by which it is achieved, varies according to context. The end goal of a second set of eyes on the system under development is to satisfy its mission objectives and add assurance of mission success. As systems engineering practices continue to evolve, the prevalence of Agile methodologies and frameworks is on the rise. This shift over time to a more Agile approach has in no way diminished the need for IV&V, in fact, the argument could be made that it has increased the need for IV&V. The system knowledge of the IV&V team brings a different perspective than the user brings in sprint demos. The quality attribute of "safety" or "security" may not be as readily demonstrable through user-visible system behavior. Adding this perspective in phase with the development cadence is essential to achieving the goals of agility for everyone. This paper highlights the incorporation of Agile principles and values by the IV&V team to use traditional IV&V methods and practices in a new way. IV&V techniques more common for waterfall-developed projects are amenable to an agile development program with some key shifts in mindset and approach. This ensures that the IV&V approach will match agile development methodologies that have become more commonplace over the past decade. This Agile IV&V approach not only allows the IV&V team to be more in phase with the software development, providing more value in the form of assurance of the software and issues they have found faster, but it also provides a deeper knowledge of Agile principles for the IV&V team as they are executing the same practices as the developer. IV&V for agile-developed projects requires a different kind of partnership between the developer or project and the IV&V team. This paper looks to explore partnerships that still maintain the appropriate, agreed-upon level of independence, but also help inform each party of what is happening when. As this partnership grows and is successful, the approach allows the beneficial perspective of IV&V to influence the future in a proactive and timely manner rather than correct the past.