6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 5.5 Validate Scope: Introduction


Before I go into the particulars of this next process in the scope management knowledge area, namely, process 5.5 Validate Scope, I wanted to make two general comments about the process.

  1.  When is this process done?

The two processes in the scope management knowledge area that belong to the Monitoring and Controlling phase of processes are

  • process 5.5 Validate Scope and
  • process 5.6 Control Scope

Although PMI has decided to list Validate Scope BEFORE Control Scope, but in an actual project, the Validate Scope process is the LAST process you will do before you close out the project.   Why?   Validate Scope is what happens when you take the completed deliverables.  After the project work is done, if they accept the final deliverables, then congratulations, your project is done!   You then move onto the final process 4.7 Close Project or Phase.    If they don’t ‘accept them, then you need to move on to change the scope so that the final deliverables DO meet the acceptance criteria of the customer or sponsor.   Then you would go to the process 5.6 Control Scope, where the scope baseline can be changed.   So in that case, Control Scope would be done after Validate Scope.   You redo those deliverables that had problems and then you try again and have the customer validate the final deliverables.   If you get it right, then Validate Scope is the last scope process to be done before you move on to 4.7 Close Project or Phase.

However, there are intermediate deliverables that may be completed during the course of the project, and these can be validated by the customer on an ongoing basis during the process 5.5 Validate Scope.  So although it is the last process to be done, it can be done intermittently throughout the project as deliverables become completed.

2. What is the difference between validating deliverables and verifying deliverables?

Okay, “verify” and “validate” sound sort of similar so it is important to make this distinction on a project.   Once the scope of a particular deliverable is done, the work on that deliverable is considered complete.   However, was it done correctly, that is, does the completed deliverable match the acceptance criteria set forth at the beginning of the project, where it satisfies the requirements set forth by the customer or sponsor?  The knowledge area that deals with the completeness of the work is the SCOPE, but the knowledge area that deals with the correctness of the work is the QUALITY.    Once a deliverable is complete, you then VERIFY that it is done correctly in the process 8.3 Control Quality.   If you have verified internally within the project team that it is done correctly, you then present that deliverable to the customer or sponsor in the current process 5.5, and have them VALIDATE that the work was done correctly.

However, on an exam if you see the word “verify” and “validate”, and wonder, “now which of those meant to be checked by the project team, and which of those meant to be checked by the customer”, then here’s a way I found of keeping the terms straight.

Say I going to visit a customer, who has a large office with a huge parking garage attached.   When I park the car, since all the levels of the parking lot look alike, I’m afraid that if I don’t verify where I parked, I might have trouble finding my car when I leave the customer’s office building.   So I usually write the level, and parking space number on my parking ticket I get from the machine as I enter the garage.   Now, after my appointment with the customer, if they are nice, they might offer to validate my parking ticket so that I don’t have to pay a fee for parking in the garage.   So verify is what I do as a project manager, and validate is what the customer does.   That’s one way to keep the terms straight in your head!

Now with those preliminary issues of terminology and timing out of the way, let’s talk about the inputs to this process, which I will take up in the next post.

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