V-Shaped Model in SDLC Methodology

Instructor: Elizabeth Wamicha

Elizabeth teaches undergraduate courses in Business and Information Technology for the last 7 years. She is currently on course to completing a Doctorate in Information Systems

The V-shaped model extends the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) waterfall model. The lesson outlines the verification and validation phases and examines the V-shaped models advantages, disadvantages, and applications.

The V-Shaped Model

Have you been hired to make a software program for a customer? If you need a disciplined approach to software engineering, then the V-shaped model could be the right approach for you. It is an example of a model that extends the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) phases normally presented in a waterfall model.

The V-shaped model shows the relationships between each phase of development and the associated phase of testing. It's also referred to as the 'verification and validation model'. This is because each verification phase is associated with a validation phase.

The process is like carrying out quality checks for all the new things a software developer adds to a project. This model, therefore, introduces a disciplined approach to software engineering. Let's take a look at the phases of the V-shaped Model.


The V-shaped model extends the SDLC waterfall model to include a set of verification and validation steps. The waterfall model includes:

  • requirements analysis
  • design
  • implementation
  • testing
  • verification
  • maintenance

Each of these phases of the SDLC have distinct activities with distinct deliverables, or outcomes. In the V-shaped model, all the steps have a corresponding testing phase. Let's take a look.

The V-shape model with verification steps on the left and validation steps on the right.

Verification Steps

This set of steps encompasses the various design and coding activities that are required in the software development process. These steps are also referred to as the 'developer's life cycle.'

  • Business Requirements Specification (BRS): what does the customer want? The software engineer meets regularly with the customer in order to fully understand their goals and wants.
  • System Design: developing the plan for the system design or blueprint, including requirements for hardware, software and network for the system under development.
  • Architecture Design: the process of designing or creating a blueprint for the hardware, software and network layout of the system under development. Also known as High Level Design (HLD).
  • Module design: this is the step where a detailed design of the system is generated and all the parts making up the system are specified. At this point, the software engineer also checks to confirm that the system under development will be compatible with other external systems already being used by the customer. Also known as Low Level Design (LLD).

Coding Phase

The coding phase involves the process of actual coding. This also includes selecting the most appropriate programming language. The coding process is managed by standards and guidelines that have to be specified even before the software development process begins.

Validation Steps

While verification focuses on development, validation ensures that all that development was carried out correctly. This process is very dynamic and a great deal of testing takes place. These steps are also referred to as the 'tester's life cycle.'

  • Unit Testing: ensuring that all bugs or errors in code are removed and tested for at a very early stage.
  • Integration Testing: ensuring that the module and architectural designs are accurate and that all the software's functionalities have been captured in the design.
  • System Testing: testing the functionality of the entire software.
  • Acceptance testing: ensuring that the user is happy with the product before the final version is delivered. This step can also help in finding performance issues in the software such as speed or capacity performance.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The main advantage of the V-shaped model is that it is relatively easy to use. Rigorous testing makes the software cost effective and high quality.

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