4 and 5

Recently while I was speaking with a group about one of AEGIS’ core services, Independent Verification Validation (IV&V), there was an exclamation from someone in the room: “Oh! I was wondering what ‘4 & 5’ was….” Unfortunately, the discipline of IV&V remains an obscure art, especially outside of the federal government. But even within government, we often encounter a wide range of reactions to the concept of IV&V.

To be sure, some agencies fully embrace IV&V for their information technology endeavors. They have IV&V involved throughout project life cycles from pre-procurement through operations and maintenance handling a broad range of tasks such as requirements validation, design and code reviews, analyses of alternatives, and oversight of testing. They use IV&V contractors who are fully independent from the system integrator contractors. In some cases, a separate office in the agency is responsible for IV&V to maintain independence within the agency itself.

Other agencies embrace IV&V to lessor degrees. For example, they may have IV&V involved only in testing activities. To some, ‘IV&V’ and ‘testing’ are synonymous. Some offices are not as concerned as others about the level of independence of the V&V team. Some programs treat IV&V as a ‘checkbox’ item – they may be required to procure it, but it’s not a priority for them because they don’t see the value, or worse, they see IV&V and an obstacle to getting the job done.

And of course other agencies/offices don’t utilize IV&V at all.

AEGIS has been working with the American Council for Technology – Industry Advisor Council (ACT-IAC) since 2012 to co-chair a commit focused on IV&V. Specifically, the committee, part of the Collaboration and Transformation (C&T) Shared Interest Group (SIG), seeks to foster dialog between government and industry around the discipline of IV&V. One goal of the committee is to help government understand the ways IV&V can help improve outcomes for IT programs by raising quality, reducing risk, and conserving costs. What kind of costs? Watch for my next blog post that talks about that topic. In the meantime, are you interested in joining the dialog about IV&V? Whether you come from government or industry, you can both contribute to and extract value from the discussion. Find out more at: https://www.actiac.org/content/participation

About Michael Callihan

Mr. Callihan is President of AEGIS. He is a Project Management Institute (PMI) certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and a certified Lean Six Sigma Sensei (LSSS). He is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with degrees in Information and Decision Systems and Industrial Management. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Government Business Executive Forum (GBEF) and a member of the Executive Steering Committee of the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) FHIR at Scale Tackforce (FAST).

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