Verification vs Validation

Difference between the terms Verification and Validation according to PMI, and mnemonic to help you remember these terms for the PMP exam.

Verification and Validation are two commonly confused terms. In everyday life, you may be able to get by with using them interchangeably, but when it comes to the PMP exam, these terms have clear and distinct meaning and you need to be absolutely clear about the distinction. The key differences between Verification and Validation are:

  • Verification checks whether the product was built right. Validation checks whether the right product was built.

  • Verification is usually an internal process, whereas Validation is external.

  • Verification usually takes place before Validation.

Notes for PMP

Completed deliverables from Direct and Manage Project Work process are inputs to the Control Quality process. After passing the Control Quality process, the completed deliverables become verified deliverables.

Verified deliverables from the Control Quality become inputs to the Validate Scope process, which is the process to get formal acceptance of the verified deliverables from the customer. After getting acceptance from the customer, the verified deliverables become accepted deliverables.

Accepted deliverables are inputs to the Close Project or Phase process and are part of the final product, service or result delivered to the customer.

Mnemonic for the PMP Exam

It’s all well and fine to know these terms, but how do you keep them straight for the exam? Here’s a mnemonic to help you.

If you look up these terms in the dictionary from top to bottom, which term would appear first? Of course, Validation would appear first because it ranks above Verification in alphabetical order.

But as mentioned above, in project management, verification is done before validation. So, the trick to remember their order is to reverse the alphabetical order.

Project management order of verification and validation is reverse of the alphabetical order.

PMI is NOT Perfect

Don’t feel bad when you mix up these terms. PMI took several years to get these terms right. Up until the PMBOK Guide 4th edition, the terms had completely opposite meanings. Validate Scope used to be called Verify Scope and Verified Deliverables used to be called Validated Deliverables.

They fixed these terms in the PMBOK Guide 5th edition.

Last updated: September 15, 2018