While reviewing my old blog posts I noticed a blog post describing the difference between the control quality and verify scope processes based on the fourth edition of the PMBOK Guide.
As you know, the 5th edition of the PMBOK Guide has arrived, and it has many changes. The change which forced me to write this blog post is that the PMI has replaced the “verify scope” process with the “validate scope” process.
Therefore, I’m rewriting this blog post to accommodate this change and with more depth.
Before we start discussing the quality control and validate scope processes, let’s understand the meaning of “validate” and “verify” and how they differ from each other.
The verification process comes before the validation process. In the verification process, you inspect the deliverable for its completeness and correctness. Here you will check that the product is built the correct way. Verification is an internal process performed by quality control engineers where you make sure that the product meets all stated requirements, specifications and complies with regulations.
Verification is about building the thing right.
The validation process comes after the verification process, and it checks if the product meets customers’ and other stakeholders’ needs or not. Here you will analyze whether the product performs its intended use as it was envisaged. The validation process does not involve the project management team. Most of the time, this process involves the project manager, customers, and other stakeholders.
Validation is about building the right thing.
Suppose you plan to build a new demanding product. You design and develop it. Before launching the product you check that whether it was developed as per the design or not. If it is developed the right way or not. If answers to these questions is yes, you will launch it to the market. This step shows that you have verified the product.
Now, you have launched the product to the market. Your product has gotten good responses from customers, and good sales were generated as you have expected.
This means that the product is validated because it has satisfied its users’ needs and expectations.
This was all about validation and verification.
Now let’s discuss the control quality and validate scope process in detail.
On first thought, the control quality and validate scope processes may seem to be the same, because both processes involve the inspection and review of deliverables; however, they are not the same. There is a difference between these two processes. The purposes of these two processes are different, and both processes are performed in a different manner.
The control quality process is performed internally to ensure that deliverables are defect free, complete, and fulfill all stated requirements. Quality control activities are undertaken by the quality control people during the project execution.
According to the PMBOK Guide, 5th edition, “Control Quality is the process of monitoring and recording results of executing the quality activities to assess performance and recommend necessary changes.”
This means that in the control quality process, you will see the specifications of deliverables and tally them with the designed specifications. If you find any deviation from the design specifications, you will recommend a corrective and/or preventive action.
In the control quality process you inspect the deliverable for its correctness and whether it meets all its quality requirements specified in the contract.
Suppose you get a contract to build 200 km road. You start working on it, and appoint a quality control engineer to monitor the quality of work. This quality control engineer will be available all the time on-site. He will check the quality of deliverables at each stage; e.g. the quality of raw materials, level of the road, slope on turn, alignment of the footpaths, etc.
The above example shows quality control activities.
The validate scope process is performed by the project manager with the client after the deliverable or the product is completed. The purpose of this process is to ensure that the client accepts the product formally.
According to the PMBOK Guide, 5th edition, “Validate Scope is the process of formalizing acceptance of the completed project deliverables.”
From the above definition, you can clearly see that the sole purpose of the validate scope process is to get formal acceptance from the client that the product is acceptable to him.
In the quality control process you verify the deliverables, and once the quality control department passes the deliverables, you validate it with the client.
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 come and inspect the completed part of the road so that they can formally accept it, and you get the payment.
The client comes and sees if all of his requirements have been met or not. The client will check whether the width of road is correct, is the footpath is properly aligned, and whether the length of the road is correct or not. After inspecting these parameters, the client may also run a few tests to check the strength of the road.
Once the client is satisfied, he signs the acceptance letter, the road is formally accepted, and you get the money for the completed part of the work.
This process is called the validate scope.
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; moreover, this can also happen with the control quality process, as we can see in the above given example.
In the example, although the client has validated the scope and accepted the 50 km of road, you are still working to build the rest of the road.
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 inspection and review of deliverables.
The similarities end here. Now let’s see the differences between these two processes.
Differences between Control Quality and Validate Scope
The following are a few differences between the control quality and validate scope processes:
- Control quality is performed internally by the project manager with the quality management team, while validate scope is performed by the client with the project manager.
- Control quality checks whether the product is produced in the right way, and validate scope is concerned with producing the right product.
- The control quality process is performed to ensure that product is ready to be delivered while validate scope process gets the formal acceptance from the client after delivering the product.
- Control quality is usually performed at the end of the phase, and validate scope is performed at the end of the project.
- The objective of the control quality process is to make sure the product is defect free, and fulfills all its requirements. On the other hand, the purpose of the validate scope process is to get formal acceptance of the product from the client.
For many people, control quality and validate scope are the same; however, they are not. Although they involve the inspection of deliverables, their purpose is different. The control quality process helps you build the correct product in the first place, and the validate scope process helps you get the formal acceptance from the client that he has accepted the deliverable or the product. These two processes compliment each other and help deliver a good quality product.
As a project manager you must understand the difference between these two processes and manage them accordingly to achieve your project success.
Here is where this blog post on control quality and validate scope ends. Please make sure that you understand these terms and the difference between them because PMI words their questions in such a way that confuses even the best minds. Read this blog post thoroughly, and if you face any difficulty in understanding, you can discuss it with me through the comments section.