Delivering a successful project—though every project manager’s desire—isn’t a walk in the park. From planning, execution, and completion, it’s your responsibility to ensure everything runs smoothly.
No matter how well you prepare, your efforts can quickly go off the rails without prioritization and proper follow-up along the way. Certain project management methodologies enable you to streamline your processes for better and focused project execution.
One such methodology is the V-model.
This article will examine what the V-model entails and why it may (or may not) be suitable for your projects.
Introduction to the V-Model
The V-Model is a popular method that project managers use to plan and execute projects. It’s also known as the Verification and Validation model. The model is an expansion of the waterfall model that follows strict, step-by-step stages.
Each stage must be completed before the next one begins. The nature of this model makes it risk-averse as completion of each phase prompts a corresponding test phase. The test phase allows the project team to identify challenges earlier in the project, saving them time and resources.
Though famous for software projects, it’s also proven to be reliable for complex, long, and costly projects in industries such as defense, construction, and transportation.
The model is aptly named V due to the sequential approach it follows. The model begins with larger goals, then progress proceeds down through more and more granular stages. The left side of the V describes the development phases, while the right side represents the test activities.
The standardization and transparency of the V-model enable project managers to monitor and minimize risks efficiently and manage their costs.
The V-Model Process
Like the traditional waterfall model, the V-Model follows a series of linear phases that should occur throughout the project’s life cycle—one at a time.
Below we’ll briefly discuss each of the phases involved in the typical V-Model.
The first phase involves identifying the requirements of the project. Here, the project team spends time creating thorough user requirement documentation. It’s vital that users and other stakeholders are involved in this phase to ensure a comprehensive analysis of the information gathered.
The acceptance tests implemented later during the testing stages are also designed in this phase.
2. System design
The next phase involves generating a specification document outlining all technical components such as the data structures, business logic, workflows, and so on. Teams use feedback and user requirement documents created during the requirements phase to create this document.
System Tests—to be used later—are also designed during this stage.
3. Architecture design
In this stage, you’ll draw specifications detailing general component functionality, interfaces, and dependencies. You’ll also develop integration tests during this phase.
4. Module design
This fourth phase consists of the low-level design of the specific components, including how to implement all functional, coded business logic. This phase also involves creating unit tests.
Here’s where the actual coding and implementation occur. Teams convert all previously generated design and specification docs into a coded, functional system.
6. Unit testing
Here, unit tests are carried out to verify that the most minor components of the program function correctly. Ideally, this phase’s goal is to eliminate the vast majority of issues and thus will be the most prolonged testing phase of the project.
7. Integration testing
This is the phase where you execute the integration tests developed during the architecture design phase. The goal of these tests is to ensure that the system functions across all components and third-party integrations.
8. System testing
Here you execute the tests you created during the system design phase. The tests should primarily focus on performance and regression testing.
9. Acceptance testing
All tests created during the initial requirements phase are implemented in this final phase. These tests ensure that the system is functional in a live environment and is ready for deployment.
Advantages and Disadvantages of The V-Model in Project Management
You can anticipate several advantages and disadvantages when implementing the V-model in project management. First, let’s take a look at the benefits.
- Simple and easy to use.
- Enables project managers to identify bottlenecks at early stages, avoiding the downward flow of the issues.
- The V-Model is reliable for projects with a strict deadline. It will help you manage your time efficiently to meet critical milestones throughout the project.
- It provides project teams with clear guidelines by focusing on one phase at a time.
- It makes delegating tasks and tracking progress easier since it establishes specific deliverables for each stage.
- Involves a review process for each phase to ensure accuracy
While there are many benefits of using the V-model, there are also some challenges you may experience. Here are a few disadvantages of using the V-model:
- It’s very rigid and can be time-consuming for large projects.
- If changes occur during a project’s execution, you may also have to update your test and requirement documents.
- It’s unreliable for projects with unclear requirements and at a high risk of changing.
When to Use the V-Model in Project Management
The V-model follows a structured and standardized way of planning and executing projects. It minimizes risks, ensures system quality control, and helps earn the confidence of project stakeholders.
The model is generally used for projects with precise requirements. Therefore, it’s crucial that project managers fully understand the customer’s requirements. A robust project management tool such as Mission Control can make this process easier.
Using the Program Planner, you can build out your project requirements, user stories, and checklist items for each project.
The Risk Log is a helpful feature that you can use to log any issues identified during the various project phases. You can use this log to avoid similar problems occurring in future projects.
Ready to maximize the power of the V-model and plan and execute your projects better? Contact us today for a demo.