Agile validation is the key to software success at TSSG

12 Jul 2017

Image: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

TSSG’s Catherine Cunniffe outlines how verification and validation are the key to deriving quality software from research.

Waterford Institute of Technology’s TSSG is internationally acclaimed for the quality of its software spin-outs and its disciplined approach to turning research into compelling technologies and business cases.

One of the unsung heroes of the enterprise is TSSG’s Verification and Validation (V&V) group, which is managed by Catherine Cunniffe.

‘We developed a process so we didn’t hinder innovation’

In an interview with, Cunniffe expanded upon how agile development affects the life cycle of a project at TSSG.

“Verification is about the practices and processes that we would use while developing software here at TSSG.

“Validation is about the testing aspect of the software that we create from our research.”

The key to building quality software

Cunniffe works across all research units at TSSG to ensure that software outputs from basic research right up to contract R&D are of optimum quality.

“We try to ensure that we are building good quality software from the get-go,” she said.

“We are unique from the perspective that we have a software testing aspect to our software research output. When I joined, the approach we took was an agile approach.

Cunniffe said that the V&V group works with both internal research and external clients, ranging from innovation partners in Ireland to companies from Europe and Silicon Valley.

Practical work includes code reviews, studying the software configuration management and testing the software before it can be released to market.

“We developed a process so we didn’t hinder innovation. We follow agile guidelines. But, depending on the type of funding we take in – whether it is basic research, an innovation voucher, or an innovation partnership or commercialisation fund – we apply different levels of those guidelines to that project.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years