Verification versus validation is a tricky concept to understand. However, to put it into simple terms in basically means verifying that something is correct such as correct tools, correct products, correct process, etc versus validation or fulfilling the need that is expected to be fulfilled.
The definition of verification can be described as the process of establishing the truth or validity or accuracy of something. In the field of production, to verify essentially means to make sure that the product is being produced under specific guidelines using designated materials and done in an exact manner.
On the other hand, validation can be described as testing or finding the truth within something. This is more of the final step in the production of a specific product. This is where we identify if a product met the specific need or if changes need to be implemented to make a more successful product. So if a short-coming is indeed identified within a product it can be rectified to help make the product more user-friendly or to better fit the need.
An Example of Verification vs. Validation
Imagine you had an ice cream shop serving a very unique and well-desired type of custard. The custard your business produces requires certain special ingredients that you purchase from a specific dealer due to the reliability of the brands and the availability. Furthermore, you also use only specific custard mixing machinery to ensure that the consistency is uniform with each and every batch. In fact, you even have the whole mixing process timed out to the minute and you keep the custard frozen at a specific temperature. This is considered the verification; each item is accounted for and taken into consideration. The process and equipment has been identified and clearly laid out. Now imagine going on a vacation and leaving the whole process up to a very responsible and knowledgeable manager. The manager knows all of the ins and outs of the custard making process, follows the recipes and processes exactly and you have total trust in this person. One of the days while you are gone, it is very hot day and the custard shop is booming with business and the door is constantly opening and closing changing the humidity levels inside the shop. The humidity in the shop quickly travels throughout the preparation area and unknowingly the manager does not counteract the humidity with the specialized air conditioning unit. Even though the manager was precise on all the ingredients and processes the custard is not reaching the desired texture and consistency due to the abundance of humidity during the mixing stage. This would be an example of the validation. The product is not quite coming out as intended despite the correct procedures that have been put into place and followed. The need for the cool, silky smooth custard by the customers is not being met by the previously set standards the customer holds for your business’s custard quality.
This situation is universal and may arise in any type of production process whether it is in manufacturing, engineering, or an ice cream shop the need for verification as well as validation is apparent. Both are needed to help ensure a successful business process.