Verification vs. Testing - Ensuring Efficient Product Development

March 10, 2022



min read

Verification vs. Testing - Ensuring Efficient Product Development

To implement a product development process that's efficient and cost-effective, it's essential to implement both validation and verification testing. The question regarding validation versus verification testing isn't which is best - it's when and how to implement each.

Early in the design process, it's important to define measurable goals regarding product specifications, to ensure that the end product will meet the requirements for its intended use. Manufacturability considerations can simultaneously be addressed, to reduce costs.

Validation and verification are actions that, when implemented early in the product development process, can keep the process steadily on course toward the goal of manufacturing, launching, and marketing a successful product at a reasonable cost. But even experts in design and manufacturing can sometimes confuse the relationship between verification versus validation testing. Here, we will clarify some important points to consider when implementing these two processes, which are both essential features of efficient product design.

What is Verification Testing?

In Phase Zero of the process for developing a good product, it must be continuously confirmed that the proposed design meets the requirements and specifications set for the finished product. Getting off to a good start is important. But so is having a plan in place for continuing to check that the measurements of each part of the product under design remain accurate and that the finished product will function as intended.

This prevents the expense of a complete redesign. Such a plan, which includes specific testing and evaluation to be performed at certain points, is termed the verification process.

What is Validation Testing?

Most products must be proven to work before being put on the market. Achieving confirmation that a product can fulfill the needs of its intended users requires validation testing of a prototype or a sample from the first run of manufacturing.

Validation testing can be accomplished by constructing simulated settings as identical as possible to the conditions where the product will be utilized - or transporting the product to an actual environment where it will be used. Testing conducted under the closest conditions possible to a product's intended use validates that the correct product has been built for the specified use.

Though validation testing must be performed upon the finished product, to eliminate expensive backtracking, the methods of validation testing included in the next section should be implemented whenever possible, during verification testing.  

How to Implement Verification and Validation Testing in the Product Development Process

The verification testing process consists of the following basic steps of the design process, and includes the incorporation of the methods of evaluation testing:

  1. Planning - Defining design goals and specifications. Scheduling the frequency and type of tasks to be performed to verify that the product development process is proceeding as planned. The points of the plan should be structured by the inclusion of the basic methods of validation testing listed below.
  2. Executing - Launch of the design process, carrying out of the verification tasks designated in the plan at the specified points in the development process, keeping in mind the methods of validation testing provided in the list that follows.  
  3. Reporting - Compiling the results of the process of analysis at various points of development to document that goals are being consistently met.

The validation testing process is best incorporated into the verification process via the scheduling of tasks based on these basic methods of validation:

  1. Analysis - of the product's design and performance.
  2. Inspection - of the product's components and performance.
  3. Demonstration - testing to prove the product works as expected.
  4. Physical testing - performing experiments in a real-world setting to determine that a product works as expected.
  5. Simulation - conducting experiments digitally, or under conditions that closely resemble those in which a product will be used.

Specific Steps for Applying These Tests

Before beginning a design project, a complete analysis should be conducted of each required capability of the finished product. A list should be made of the features necessary to enable the product to function as desired, in the environment where it will be utilized, by the type of individual who will be using it.

Application of both verification and validation techniques is essential to the successful completion of any new product design and launch. The following is a brief overview of some typical components of each stage of these processes.

Verification testing:

The original plan must include appropriate product dimensions, desired functions, and the specific design principles and techniques needed to create a finished product that meets the expectations of designers and end-users. The design must be as complete as possible before launching the build process.

  • Once the initial build is launched, measurement of completed parts ensures the accuracy of production methods at each stage.
  • Preliminary assembly and testing of functions can identify the need for design and/or manufacturing process changes.
  • Reporting the success or failure of parts production and testing of operation/standards at each stage, to all parties involved, facilitates the teamwork needed to promptly perfect the design of the product.

Validation testing:

Validation methods including analysis, inspection, demonstration, physical testing, and simulation can and should be used to evaluate a design during any phase of product development. But they are critical in determining that the finished product meets the designated requirements.

In addition to a product's basic operation, some issues to keep in mind when conducting validation testing include:

  • Industry standards for the type of product.
  • Potential maintenance challenges.
  • The ability of the product to stand up to the environment in which it will be used.
  • Controls and features - making certain they're compatible with the skills of the intended end user.

The Importance of Verification and Validation Testing

Put simply, the difference, when considering the question of verification vs. validation testing, could be worded as follows:

  • Verification is making certain a proposed product is being designed and constructed to meet well-defined functional requirements.
  • Validation testing is making certain the product being produced meets the customer’s needs.
  • But the methods of validation testing are important throughout the verification process.

Following the best practices of verification and validation testing is of primary importance in the goal of promptly launching a successful product. Whether you're involved in the design and manufacture of home appliances or products for the medical device industry, the combination of verification and validation testing results in the production of a quality product whose components are designed for the greatest efficiency of function. A win-win situation for the bottom line of everyone involved in design, build, marketing and sales, as well as the entrepreneur or business launching the product.

Launchpad's products facilitate informed design processes that make use of verification and validation testing to produce quality products at a reasonable cost. Contact us to connect with our team of skilled professionals, dedicated to supporting the changing future of manufacturing, including the trend toward reshoring.

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