Control Quality versus Validate Scope

July 25, 2020
Fahad Usmani
control quality vs validate scope

The control quality and validate scope processes help you build the right product and deliver it to the client. These are important processes and you should understand them well. 

However, before we discuss these processes, let’s have a quick look at the meanings of “validate” and “verify.” I have seen many experienced professionals who don’t understand the difference between the two terms.

Verification

Verification is about building the product correctly. 

Here, you inspect the deliverable for completeness and correctness. You ensure that the product is built the right way. It is an internal process to make sure that the stated requirements and specifications are met and that all regulations have been followed. 

The quality control engineer performs this function.

Validation

Validation is about building the right product.

This process ensures that the products meet the customer’s requirements. This process does not involve the project team. Generally, the project manager performs this function with the client or other stakeholders.

 The validation process comes after the verification process

An Example of Verification and Validation

Suppose you plan to launch a new product. You develop it, and you check whether it was developed as per the design or not. Are the specifications as per the requirements? If the answer is yes, you have verified the product. 

You launch the product in the market and receive good customer response. Sales are better than expected, and you earned a good profit. 

The product is validated because it fulfills the customers’ requirements and they are satisfied. 

Now, we come to the topic of this blog post. Many professionals consider the control quality and validate scope processes to be similar because both processes involve the inspection and review of deliverables. This is an incorrect assumption.

Control Quality

According to the PMBOK Guide, 6th edition, “Control Quality is the process of monitoring and recording results of executing the quality management activities in order to assess performance and ensure the project outputs are complete, correct, and meet customer expectations.” 

You perform the control quality process internally during the execution phase to ensure that deliverables are defect-free and fulfill the stated requirements. You will recommend corrective action if you find any deviation. 

Put simply, you inspect the deliverable for its correctness and ensure that it meets the quality requirements.

Example of the Control Quality Process

You get a project to build a 200 km road. You start the work and appoint a quality control engineer. He will check the deliverables at each stage: e.g., f raw materials, level of the road, the slope on the turn, alignment of the footpaths, etc. If he finds any variations in the process or product he will take necessary corrective actions. 

The above example shows quality control activities.

Validate Scope

According to the PMBOK Guide, 6th edition, “Validate Scope is the process of formalizing acceptance of the completed project deliverables.” 

The project manager performs the validate scope process with the client after the product is ready. The objective is to ensure formal product acceptance by the client. 

You verify the product in the control quality process and then validate it with the client for their acceptance in the validate scope process.

Example of the Validate Scope Process

Let’s continue with the example given for the control quality process. 

You have completed 50 km out of 200 km of the road. You invite the client to inspect and accept it so you can receive payment. 

They come and check whether the width of the road is correct, if the footpath is properly aligned, and if the length is right. After inspecting these parameters, they check the strength of the road. 

Once they are satisfied, they sign the acceptance letter and you get paid for the completed work. 

This is an example of the validate scope process. 

The validate scope process is not always performed at the end of the project. You can perform it during the project execution along with the control quality process, as you saw in the example above. 

In the example, the client has accepted 50 km of the road, while you remain busy with completing the rest.

Similarities Between Control Quality and Validate Scope

The following are a few similarities between the control quality and validate scope processes:

  • Both processes belong to the monitor and control process group.
  • Both processes involve the inspection and review of deliverables.

Differences Between Control Quality and Validate Scope

The following are a few differences between the control quality and validate scope processes:

  • Control quality is an internal process, while validate scope is an external process.
  • Control quality checks if the product was developed in the right way, and validate scope is concerned with building the right product.
  • The control quality process ensures that the product is ready for delivery while the validate scope process gets the formal acceptance from the client.
  • Control quality is performed during the project execution, and validate scope is usually performed at the end of the phase or project.

Summary

The control quality and validate scope processes are a part of the monitoring and controlling process group and both involve the inspection of deliverables, but their purpose is different. These processes help you build the correct product in the first place and get formal acceptance from the client. Both processes complement each other and help you deliver a high-quality product. 

What activities do you carry out in the control quality and validate scope processes? Please share your experiences in the comments section.

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Speak Your Mind

  • Hi Sir,
    Can explain below question?

    As the manager of a small construction project, you are nearing project closing when a previously unidentified risk is identified by one of the team members. The risk could affect the project success and on time completion. What should your next action be?

    A. Develop Risk Mitigation Plans
    B.Qualify the Risk
    C. Develop the work around
    D. Inform your managers about the newly discovered risk and its impact.

  • Hey Fahad
    Thanks so much for all the blog posts I will be writing the pmp test next tomorrow . You will be the first to know how it goes.
    I just want to add that it is important to distinguish that the “deliverables” in we are checking out during the validate scope are interem deliverable since it is at close phase or project that the ” final” delieverables will be validated. Hope you get my point!

  • You need to write a project management book. This is the best explanation I have found. Your explanation was so vivid and in layman terms that I could visualize and fully comprehend the concepts. I usually don’t leave comments but I had to in this case.

  • Hi Fahad. I was reading your blog post, and i would say that some of the information you wrote here is incorrect. Based on CAPM Exam Prep: Rita Mulcahy’s Course in a Book for Passing the CAPM Exam, and PMBOK 5th edition, it says that the validate scope process occurs many times during the project execution, in order to validate the project deliverables with the customer/sponsor. So, the validate scope is not performed only at the end of the phase or project. Also, there is an important detail missing in the post, in relation with the dependency between the Control Quality process and Validate Scope. So, the project deliverable or product is not submitted to the customer’s formal acceptance, during Validate scope process, before the project deliverable / product is not verified in relation with quality control. So, the quality control internally happens first, in order to ensure that the project deliverable / product respects the quality requirements and standards defined, and then if there are no change requests, it is valid to be submitted to the customer for formal acceptance during validate scope process. Have a look and see if it makes sense what i am saying.

    Thanks,
    HB

    • Please refer to the following references:

      The PMBOK Guide, fifth edition, page: 133

      Validate Scope is the process of formalizing acceptance of the completed project deliverables.

      The PMBOK Guide, fifth edition, page: 134

      The verified deliverables obtained from the Control Quality process are reviewed with the customer or sponsor to ensure that they are completed satisfactorily and have received formal acceptance of the deliverables by the customer or sponsor.

  • Hi

    I am slightly confused about when “Validate scope” is performed. The article has 2 contradictory statements:-
    1. “Please note, it is not necessary that the validate scope process should be performed at the end of the project. This process can be performed before the project ends;”
    2. “and validate scope is performed at the end of the project.”.

    The latter one seems to be more correct.
    But could you please clarify again whether Validate scope should ONLY be performed at the end of the project or can be done even while the project is still on going. What about the first statement. ?

    Thanks
    Vidita

  • Fahad,
    I found your explanation very helpful.

    Another way to say this is, control quality verifies the product was built to the project specs (compared to requirements documents), while validate scope verifies that the project specs were proper, i.e. did we make the right thing (are the requirement documents correct). So if we wrote the specs wrong, it would pass control quality, but fail validate scope.

  • Your blog post is really good. However, I do have the same question as Norman. I think what is confusing is that you have written the following sentence in your comparison section:

    “Control quality is usually performed at the end of the phase, and validate scope is performed at the end of the project.” This sentence makes one think that “Validate Scope” is only performed once in the project.

    Control Quality and Validate Scope are both part of Monitor and Control Process. “Validate Scope” is not just performed at the end of the project. Like you mentioned the aim of “Validate Scope” is to get “frmal acceptance” from client of a deliverable. So it can be performed every time a verified deliverable is ready to be approved by the client. The formal documentation from the “Accepted Deliverables” which is an output of of “Validate Scope” is forwarded for the final “Close Project/Phase” Process.

    • I have already clarified in above comment about this issue.

      “So the validated scope will be performed whenever the deliverable is completed or the main product is completed.”

  • Fahad, i got a question, as you say:

    “•Control quality is usually performed at the end of the phase, and validate scope is performed at the end of the Project”

    Are u sure that validate scope is only performed at the end of the Project or when you have a deliverable completed and presenting it to your client?

    so if you have like, 10 deliverables, every time one is completed control quality kicks in, to check if it has been created/developed in the right way according to requirements/specifications, but only when the 10 are completed (thus completing the scope at least internally) only then you go to your client and validate scope kicks in?

    thats how it is cos thats what i’m getting from your assertion.

    • I said that:

      The validate scope process is performed by the project manager with the client after the deliverable or the product is completed.

      And according to the PMBOK Guide:

      Validate Scope is the process of formalizing acceptance of the completed project deliverables

      So the validated scope will be performed whenever the deliverable is completed or the main product is completed.

  • So, why PMBOK is saying “Validated Changes” in Control Quality process for Change Requests? As per your explanation, it should be “Verified Changes”! Is not it?

    • You will inspect the changes (i.e. verify), then accept or reject it (i.e. validation). That is why it says “Validated Changes”.

        • Hi Som,
          Both verification and validation by the team happens in control quality. The primary purpose of control quality is to keep errors out of the customer’s hand.
          During validate scope the validation and verification happens again but this time the customer does that as a precursor activity for acceptance of deliverables.
          Hope this clarifies your doubt.

          • Verify which us actually an audit so it happens at Perform quality assurance but validate which inspects the deliverable happena at Control quality.

  • So easy to understand — thank you very much Fahad! Answers several process and deliverable acceptance questions I’ve struggled with for years.

  • Farad, i must confess to you, your blog posts have really helped me to understand Project Management in details. This is another wonderful post.

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