In this tutorial we will discuss the ITIL Service Validation and Testing Process. Here in this chapter, you will learn the Definition, Objective, Purpose, Activities, Roles, and Sub-Process of Service Validation and Testing - ITIL V3 Process.
What is ITIL Service Validation and Testing Process?
It is the process used for actively maintaining test environments, and to ensure that the developed releases meet the customer’s expectations.
The ITIL Service Validation and Testing Process also verifies and ensures that the IT operations would be able to support the new services after deployment.
ITIL Service Validation and Testing Objective:
The primary objective of ITIL Service Validation and Testing Process is to ensure that developed releases and the resulting services meet customer expectations in terms of its quality and the value it provides to them.
This process also ensures that the IT operations team would be able to fully support the new service. The Service Validation and Testing Process also helps to remove any errors observed at the initial phase of Service Operation stage.
The Purpose of Service Validation and Testing:
The purpose of the ITIL Service Validation and Testing process is to:
- Plan and implement a well-structured validation and testing process that will provide evidence that the service will support business requirement and meet the agreed service level targets.
- Provide quality assurance for a new release (for both services and components).
- Identify risks, issues, errors etc and eliminate them throughout the Service Transition Stage.
ITIL Service Validation and Testing Process Scope:
The Validation and Testing process complements the service provider's responsibility for delivering, operating, and maintaining service assets and providing specified levels of warranty on them.
The ITIL Service Validation and Testing process can be applied throughout the service management lifecycle to assure the quality of a service and the service providers' capacity/capability.
[See Also: What is IT Service Management Lifecycle?]
Testing is equally applicable for the in-house and as well as externally developed software, hardware, services or knowledge-based services. The scope includes the testing of new or changed services or components and also examining the behavior of these in the targeted business environment.
The ITIL Service Validation and Testing Process directly supports the Release and Deployment Management to ensure that appropriate levels of testing are performed during the build, release, and deployment activities.
[See Also: ITIL Release and Deployment Management Process]
It also evaluates the quality of services/components to ensure that they are fit for purpose and fit for use before being authorized to enter into Service Operations stage. Further, this process works with Incident Management in the initial period of deployment.
It also works parallel with Change Management and Configuration Management to ensure that proper corrective actions are being taken according to the recommendations suggested during the validation and testing.
Last but not least, the output generated from this testing process is used by the Process Evaluation of CSI Module to plan for doing further improvements to the service/component.
[See Also: What is ITIL Process Evaluation in CSI Module?]
ITIL Service Validation and Testing Benefits:
As described in ITIL v3, there are several benefits of adopting the Service Validation & Testing process:
- Ensures the quality of the deployed or developed Service meets the customer expectation.
- Reduce Service related incidents through thorough testing
- Ensures that the Service Desk Team has adequate knowledge to understand the service related issue.
- Reduces the efforts of troubleshooting of Service related problems in the live environment.
- Indirectly reduces costs by reducing the bugs before service is implemented.
- Ensures that user can use the service easily, hence increases the intrinsic value of services.
ITIL Service Validation and Testing Sub-Process:
As per ITIL v3, Service Validation and Testing process have four sub-processes operating under it.
The objectives and brief descriptions about those sub-processes are provided below, followed by a diagram showing the ITIL Service Validation and Testing Process Flow:
1) Test Model Definition:
This sub-process is an extension of the project plan, which specifies the detail about how the release will be tested and quality-assured.
Subsequently, this process defines the testing concept, methods, and specific test cases to be used during Service Validation and Testing. (For example, if black box or white box testing would be done)
2) Release Component Acquisition:
Ensures the acquisition of the components of a release and submit them for initial assessment. This sub-process also ensures that only components which meet strict quality criteria are allowed to enter the intensive testing phase.
3) Release Test:
Used to test all release components and tools that are required for deployment, migration, and rollback. This sub-process also ensures that only components which meet strict quality criteria are forwarded for Service Acceptance Testing (the next sub-process).
The Release Test of a service is done in two stages:
- Unit Test or Component Test: Used to test individual component of a service to ensure that it conforms to the functional needs of that IT Service.
- Integration Test: Used to verify the interfaces between components against a service design by integrating individual components into a larger service.
4) Service Acceptance Testing:
This Testing is done to validate if all the required conditions are met for the new service to be activated.
The Service Acceptance Testing is also responsible for obtaining consent from the customer that the new service fulfills the agreed Service Level Requirements.
This test is also known as User Acceptance Testing (UAT).
ITIL Service Validation and Testing Activities:
There are a number of activities that are performed under the ITIL Service Validation and Testing, these include:
Validation and Test Management - This consists of planning, managing, controlling, and reporting on the activities that have been carried out to ensure the quality/fitness of the release.
Planning and Design - The test planning & design activities take place early on within the Service Lifecycle. These activities are related to resources, supporting services, and scheduling milestones for delivery & acceptance.
Verification of Test Plan and Design - Ensures that all test plans and designs (test models) are validated to ensure their completeness. Test models are also verified in order to minimize the risks to the service.
Preparation of the Test Environment - This refers to the preparation and establishing a baseline of the test environment.
Testing - This is the means of doing thorough Testing by using both manual or automated testing techniques and procedures. All the results from the testing are documented in the test register.
Evaluate Exit Criteria and Report - Here the documented records of test register are compared with the projected/expected results.
Clean up and Closure - This ensures that the test environments are reset to their default environment after completion of validation and testing procedures. It also suggests documenting all the knowledge learned throughout the process for future reference and improvement.
The “Service V Model” of ITIL Service Validation and Testing:
The Service V Model is a concept of defining the appropriate requirements and appropriate validation methods that have to be taken care of by the developer of service. Below is a pictorial representation of the same.
The left-hand side of the picture represents the high-level business requirements, and right-hand side shows the validation & testing methods to be applied. Ideally, the design of a service is performed in a top-down approach, and testing is performed in the bottom-up approach.
Below lists some important properties Service V Model:
- The Service V-Model is a unique concept that provides a path to define the service requirements of a service package, designing & building of a package, and then testing the package
- The V-Model approach is traditionally related to the waterfall lifecycle model but applicable to other approaches as well.
- The model provides baseline points along the path that are used as checkpoints to compare the service being designed, built and delivered versus what was actually required.
- The Service V-Model technique provides a framework for Service Validation and Testing, which helps to define the levels of Configuration Items (CIs) that are needed in each stage and the associated testing and validation procedures needed to be done.
Important Terminologies & Definitions:
Service Level Package (SLP):
- Service Level Package (SDP) is a defined level of Utility and Warranty for a particular Service Package.
- Each SLP is designed to meet the needs of a particular Pattern of Business Activity (PBA).
- SLPs are associated with a set of service levels, pricing policies, and a core service package.
Service Design Package (SDP):
- The Service Design Package (SDP) contains the core documentation of a service and is attached to its entry in the ITIL Service Portfolio.
- It is defined upon the Service Level Requirements and specifies the requirements from the viewpoint of the client.
- It also defines how these requirements would actually be fulfilled from a technical and organizational point of view.
- Service Design Package (SDP) is an important input for ITIL Service Validation and Testing.
Development/ Installation QA Documentation:
- This is a documentation of tests and quality assurance measures applied during the development or installation of services, systems and service components (e.g. component tests, code walk-through etc).
- A complete Development/ Installation Quality Assurance (QA) Documentation ensures that the required QA measures were tested before transferring a release component back to release Management.
- A Test Model is created during the Release planning phase to specify the testing approach to be used before deploying the Release into the live environment.
- It is an important input for the Project Plan, And most importantly, this document defines the required test scripts and the quality assurance checkpoints a service needs to pass during the Release deployment.
ITIL Service Validation and Testing Roles:
- The Test Manager role is the Process Owner of this process.
- Test Manager is responsible for ensuring that the deployed releases and the resulting services meet the customer expectations.
- This role also verifies and ensures that IT operations team is able to support the new service.
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