The importance of verification and validation

The importance of verification and validation

Conversation with our Swedish friends recently turned to the Vasa, a Swedish naval ship that sank 1300m into its maiden voyage in the 17th century. A report after the event indicates that there are a number of valuable learning points.

One of these is surely the importance of an effective verification and validation process. Yes, the shipyard had built a ship (verification), but its seaworthiness had not been effectively validated. In fact, there is a suggestion that the validation process identified that the ship was rather top-heavy, but they decided to launch it anyway because no-one wanted to admit that there were any issues. They were, after all, building it for the king.

And this is where quality issues overlap with safety and environmental issues – this fateful decision led to multiple deaths and, of course, a significant waste of resources.

It has also led to one of Sweden’s most popular tourist destinations, with the ship, whose hull was found to be more or less in tact, re-built and on show in the Vasa Museum in Stockholm.