There is no shortage of drivers who try to “beat the red light,” or roll through a stop sign. I see it every day (luckily BEFORE they hit my side door). Even though everyone knows, or should know the “rules of the road,” there are some folks who are in too much of a hurry, or they just blatantly ignore the rules. There can be consequences for this misconduct, resulting in fines, equipment damage, or serious injuries. But because they don’t get caught, drivers don’t realize how wrong they really are.
Product development is like traffic flow. There are straightaways and turns, there are detours, and there are traffic lights. Look at these traffic lights as pauses for milestone and gate reviews during a project. This is a time to review and reflect that you’re following your process. Verification reviews help ensure that you’re building the product the right way. Validation ensures that you’re building the right product. Your organization has spent considerable (and often hidden) time and money to determine the best way to develop a product. You have probably been trained to follow the process (more time and money). And when you don’t follow the process for any myriad of reasons, you may not get caught, however there can be serious consequences for you and your organization, resulting in even more time and money.
Your product development process is your set of “rules of the road.” It describes all the steps and activities that you use. It should take into account your product lifecycle from cradle to grave. And if you’re developing safety products, you should also include a safety lifecycle. Verification is a big part of the safety lifecycle. It makes sure that you have followed the rules to get from point A to point B, and that all the necessary techniques and measures to achieve functional safety have been fulfilled before racing off to the next development phase.
Don’t blow thru verification “red light” reviews of your development process.