Within the ITIL framework, the Service Validation and Testing process plays an important role. Not only is it used to actively maintain test environments, but it also works to ensure that developments meet the quality standard as well as customer expectations, and it verifies that releases can continue to be supported beyond their launch.
Testing processes within ITIL and the benefits of ITIL testing
The primary objective of any testing or Quality Assurance process is to remove errors ahead of deployment. Testing works to reduce incidents, ensure targets are met, increase value, and improve customer satisfaction. Testing also indirectly reduces costs by minimising bugs ahead of a service’s launch.
Service Validation and Testing during the Service Transition phase ensures that new or changed services are fit for purpose and fit for use. By identifying risks, errors, or issues early on, they can be tackled and eliminated. The result is a smoother launch with far less troubleshooting in the live environment, and more satisfied customers where expectations have been met.
The goal of any ITIL testing activity is to ensure the quality of a service. Understanding and knowing how to direct, plan and improve value streams and practices, with testing throughout, is essential for continual improvement efforts. A common misconception is that quality assurance is only carried out on finished products, at the end of development and ahead of deployment. When, in fact, testing takes place continuously through development, even at the planning stage!
The benefit of testing right from the early stages is gaining testers’ feedback. As part of Quality Assurance (QA) processes, testers will listen to the organisation’s needs and goals during the product definition or design stages and customise test and validation processes accordingly. In this way, testing can begin while the product is still "on paper".
The skill set required for ITIL testing
We’ve established that testing begins even before a single line of code is written, but what are the key processes for successful testing? And what skills are required to carry out quality assurance? Well, for starters, there is no one-size-fits-all process here. But the right soft skills paired with professional ITIL training will set you up for success!
Let’s first look at soft skills. Teams will have varying talents depending on their field of business. But what all testing professionals will have in common is their knack for critical thinking – it is arguably the most integral soft skill for the role. By questioning and thinking critically, testers can spot risks, uncover issues, and help to develop better products.
Next, in terms of training, ITIL 4 training is the ideal option for those wishing to utilise best practices for testing. Outlined within the training is a broad set of testing guidelines and principles which can be adapted to suit the nature of the business. By not simply following one testing methodology, ITIL encourages risk reduction, change management and quality standards, and does not restrict development.
Whilst ITIL mentions various approaches to testing, core to them all is providing quality assurance. ITIL teaches that applying a uniform set of policies to the service development lifecycle as a whole means that teams are able to meet a set quality standard. Often a Test Manager will take the role of process owner and so it is down to them to oversee test activities and define the process scope. Armed with ITIL training in their toolkit, test managers and their teams have a great skill set for testing.