Verification vs Confirmation

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

#Functional Safety

The terms verification and confirmation are often confused. ISO 26262 refers to verification and confirmation as two types of work product verification activities with different purposes. So confirmation is verification but not the other way around. Throw in the term validation and the confusion grows. For ISO 26262, the definition of validation is limited to item level testing which proves that safety goals are correct and have been met at the vehicle level.

Confirmation reviews are meant to confirm that the work product conforms to the requirements of the ISO 26262 standard for the work products. The standard describes a process but does not provide solutions. Therefore, conformance as the intent of the confirmation review shows that the work product has been developed by following the process implied by the standard. Conformance is not validation testing. It ensures correctness of the work product by following the requirements of the standard.  Accordingly, it applies to work products like safety assessments, the safety plan, or the safety case.

Verification is meant to demonstrate that the work product is technically correct. For software components, this means a combination of methods depending on the ASIL level of the component, including code walk through, code inspection, simulation, unit testing, and integration testing. For hardware, the methods are different but the concept is the same. Verification is a means of proving the correctness of a work product through appropriate reviews and tests.

The standard requires confirmation for some work products and verification, including specific methods per ASIL, for others. The safety plan can be an effective mechanism to indicate which type of measure is used for each work product. For companies that prefer more automation, the template to be used for the review could be automatically selected based on the work product type. While not always possible due to distributed development, different teams or skill sets, it is best practice to define verification measures up front, while the project is being planned, in order to correctly estimate the effort and the tooling required.

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