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Understanding Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) and Why Organizations Need It

Implementing a large-scale technology solution is a formidable challenge for just about any organization. It involves multiple stakeholders, departments, vendors, and end users, and getting them all on the same page can be complicated and time-consuming. It’s a large effort and lack of alignment can lead to the entire project not achieving its intended purpose or value.

When there’s a lot on the line and your project can’t afford to fail, independent verification and validation (IV&V) helps keep you on track. Working with an experienced, versatile IV&V partner who understands the challenges you’re facing is one of the best ways to mitigate project risk while maximizing your chance of success.

What is IV&V?
IV&V is a third-party oversight service that provides deep, ongoing insight into complex projects—frequently this involves the implementation of a technology solution. This insight is used to drive continuous improvement with regular evaluation, reporting, and communication that provides clarity about the state of the project, and can help forecast roadblocks before they become serious threats. The process involves both verification of project processes and validation of work products.

Verification: Project activity and processes are evaluated to make sure they’re optimized and are consistently moving the project forward.

Validation: Project work is regularly analyzed to ensure it meets the needs of all interested parties—especially end users.

Why do organizations need IV&V?
Large-scale projects—especially those that involve technology—historically have a high rate of failure. This can be attributed to technical hurdles as well as ensuring people are aligned to a common definition of success. With so many moving parts, success takes a detailed plan that incorporates change management, clear goals, and strong relationships built on concise, consistent communication.

IV&V can save your company time, money, and resources by providing consistent accurate feedback about the true state of the project, identify risks and issues up front when they occur, and advise and implement recommendations for mitigating both.

You can also capitalize on the experience of your IV&V partner, as they can give you a level of insight that’s only gained through many years of working on similar projects. This helps you avoid costly mistakes or pitfalls by monitoring project activity and encouraging the application of best practices with the assistance of a qualified partner who’s been there plenty of times before. By guiding you through the resolution of problems rather than just pointing them out, your IV&V partner adds significant value to the process.

What’s an example of how IV&V can help projects run more smoothly?
Just about every large-scale technology solution implementation requires a vendor relationship—and in some cases, it requires many vendors working together toward a common goal. These vendors might experience changes in timetables, leadership teams, resources, or their own processes, which can directly impact your project. An IV&V partner helps you manage these relationships, and can be an unbiased mediator who makes sure communication is ongoing and that each party is treated fairly.

Assistance with managing vendor relationships is just one way IV&V can help. The right IV&V partner will incorporate many strategies to get you to the finish line—and to deliver your project on time and within your budget.

How can KSM Consulting help with IV&V?
We add value to your project through our wealth of experience and our versatile skillset. Our process is customized every step of the way, which starts in the project kick-off phase by asking questions about your objectives, including:

  • What’s your most important goal?
  • Why did you create this goal?
  • What is missing from your organization?
  • What is your measure of success?
  • What does reaching your goal look like?

After learning more about your objectives, we’ll dig deeper to find out more about your business, including:

  • What is your reporting structure?
  • How does reporting happen?
  • Who are your key stakeholders?
  • What’s your invoicing process?
  • How are you communicating?

Once our initial information gathering is complete, we’ll provide ongoing observations, assessments, and recommendations to keep you moving forward. Our team embeds into the project team, digging into your project by reviewing documents, action items, meeting minutes, schedules, invoicing, and more to make sure everything is accurate and addressed.

We also offer real-time guidance, mentoring, and Project Health Assessments, making sure all interested parties are aligned. This creates an environment that encourages sustainable change and informed decision making, which is key to helping these projects ultimately succeed.

If you want to learn more about how KSM Consulting can help make your next large-scale technology solution implementation a success—and deliver all of its intended value with IV&V, contact us today.


About the Author

Scott Colip is the IV&V Practice Director for KSM Consulting. Scott uses his diverse skill set to help clients understand technical requirements and manage the business constraints of their technology projects. Connect with him on LinkedIn.