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ITIL Service Validation and Testing
One of the ITILnews community have sent in the following question:
"Hello, why is not much material available regarding service validation & testing? Is it because noone really engages into the process? Or is it that we have still the idea that testing is for software, not for the service? Or could it be that we just simply don't understand the difference of the software testing, and this 'service validation' thing?"
We tend to agree with your view that Validation and Testing is focused around software and not around the Service itself.
We have alluded to the fact in an article, which can be found at the following location: ITIL Change Management - The Missing Link
Primarily it validates a Change prior to it 'going live'. The practice I believe could apply to almost any Change, I have seen it for example with administrators setting up new users on an application and they simply check the password is correctly spelt before notifying the requestor.
On more complicated or larger Changes, which could be classed as 'Significant' or 'Major' Changes (or Projects) there is a need to provide a series of validation activities, including Application, System and Infrastructure, Security, Continuity Management (IT and Business perspective) and as you have stated Service.
The non-functional requirements should be gathered and documented in the early stages of the project and then confirmed as part of the Validation and Testing activities.
In recent times I have conducted workshops where various parties have attended including Business, Service Desk, Change, Configuration, Third Party Supplier(s) representatives, Business and Supplier Relationship Managers, project/program manager(s) and relevant project team members, other parties as required attend to define the Service Support Model. Various scenarios (identified and circulated in advance of the workshop) are described and then the support process is stepped through and each party's roles, responsibilities and actions are captured. The information is then captured in a document, circulated, corrections made and then agreed by all parties.
All the above provide the opportunity to prevent the Service being literally dropped into the 'production' or 'live' environment and failing to be supported and delivered to the expectations of the Business or Customer community.
Having read this response would you agree or have you more to add. Please let us know here at ITILnews.


2011-07-22 by "godfrey.thompson"

I basically agree with what has been said here. I am currently implementing a Service Transition test process for a major Services company in the UK. My background as a test manager is mostly s/w based with an element of non-functional testing. The task here is to cover all aspects of a service such as networks, servers, s/w and manual business process. If you think about a readiness to go live gateway then this gives you an indication of where you need to focus your 'test' effort. In this sort of situation you need to take testing back to its fundamentals of verification and validation. With such testing you will find that it is more checklist base d that actually running test scripts, although test scripts are still required. It is a challenging job but I would welcome any other views on this topic. I think the ITIL guides are good to give you some direction on the sort of test models that you need but you really do need to think about what an actual test is. Some of it is based on auditing a suppliers product that is used in the service e.g making sure an application has been properly tested. Another example that I use is that a server needs to be certified as being capable of delivering a certain through put , as well as installation corticated. This is much broader and complex than software testing, I expect that is why most of the s/w testing gurus, who just seem to keep repeating the same old story, have nothing to say on service testing! This is a subject that is gaining more interest, exciting isn't it! Pity there is no real testing training around, doers anybody know of any courses that actually tell l you something of value?
Reply on 2011-07-22
The thinking beyond just simply testing code or an application is becoming paramount these days. Couple of years back I was involved in a project delivering a internet service as part of a 'public sector' organization. The hardware involved was considerable, together with the security involving the positioning and configuration of firewalls, intruder detection systems and so forth. Adding to the mix the day to day 'operational management' of the solution was out sourced to a third-party, whilst the service desk was outsourced to another third party. But what a challenge and from this project I believe the requirement for a Service Architect to work alongside the Technical, System and Business Architects was recognized.

You ask the question around courses and to be honest I have not come across any so far on my travels. What we could do is put your question up on ITILnews for you? What do you think? We often find if one person is asking the question then others are thinking about what is the question, and in some cases some may well have the answer.

Please come back and let us know your thoughts. And one last thing is that it is exciting most definitely and what a buzz when it does goes live or into production seamlessly.

2012-01-28 by "Carolyn.pengelly"

I am trying to put together a standard template to capture all of the processes and service lines we need to test as we on board a new customer. The more I try the more it becomes a monster and totally unmanageable. Am I approaching it in the wrong way ?
Reply on 2012-01-30
For completeness you may find it beneficial to cover off all the processes and service lines.

I have often found it easier to have the various service management products supplied in a template and then 'considered' in the 'Products Definition Workshop'. As the relevent service management products are identified it then becomes the responsibility of the Project Manager to ensure the appropriate process owner is engaged and provided the appropriate signoff that the process(es) have been tested / proven successfully.

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