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ITIL :: View topic - Who owns Testing
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Who owns Testing

 
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trouble
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 8:03 pm    Post subject: Who owns Testing Reply with quote

Hello,

I have searched high and low for this answer and I can't seem to get a definitive answer for this. I know that Testing is a Quality Function and know that most teams should be doing some sort of testing (i.e. User, System, Integration, etc.).

....but, where does Testing sit and who owns it within the ITIL framework?

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MonkeyWrinkles
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To my understanding Change Mgt coordinates it while Release Mgt carries it out.
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Ed
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An Interesting Thought!

Whilst I ask for the Testing Methodology in my RFC and Testing Results in my Release document, I do not consider that I as Change Manager 'own' the Testing - after all I cannot possibly know all the disciplines and how to best test any given Change. We rely on peer reviews of a Change to ensure that what is promulgated is realistic, reliable and worthwhile. (Peer has to have a similar skill set to the Implementer)

Not something I had really considered, being more interested in the testing being worthwhile.

In our process the Release Implementer and Peer Reviewer would, in the end, have to take ultimate responsibilty for the testing. (We ask them to sign to that effect)

I only manage the Change and want to see that they actually have tested the Change to reduce the risks. (We all know how dangerous an untested Change can be).

I guess I have to ask the question 'Does it matter who owns it?' and if so 'Why?'

Regards

Ed
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trouble
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a shame that 'who cares' is the answer. Maybe you don't fully understand what 'Testing' is all about. Testing is a large part of Quality and it is a large industry on its own. Unfortunately, organisations don't spend a lot of time on it because they see it as a cost and don't realise that there is a real big risk in introducing new software, systems, processes without testing, that the organisation will pay in the later life.

My experience is with Problem Management and now looking at progressing ITIL within our organisation. I have taken the Testing Qualification as part of Problem Management (proactive) role but nowhere in ITIL is Testing ownership mentioned.

Some reasons why I believe that Testing should be owned by a new/existing function within ITIL are:
-Covers Bussiness Acceptance
-Covers User Acceptance
-Covers System (stand alone)
-Covers System Integration
-Covers Code Testing
-etc., etc.

These levels of testing are not all techie 'code' testing but making sure that the original requirements are met. Testers write procedures, standards, scripts, test plans, etc., to identify and potentially minimise the errors introduced into the live environment. This is why Testing currently fits under Problem Management in our organisation. However, as said before, Testing in an industry on its own.

When you ask users, IT, or the organisation for a signature to accept that they have done testing, what is YOUR understanding of that testing? Even if you don't really care, YOU, will be picking up the pieces when everything goes wrong.


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Ed
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trouble

I think you have misunderstood what I was saying - My apologies for being less than clear. Sad

I actually care very much.

I think your point is valid, and needs some discussion,

My point was that for me, my Release Implementer and Peer own the testing not me, and as long as the testing fulfils the requirement to minimise/eradicate the risk of the Change then I don't think it truly matter who owns it - so long as someone does! Very Happy

Regards

Ed
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rjp
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trouble, perhaps the following will help...

Testing is 'covered' in ITIL in a number of places, but the scare quotes are because ITIL covers when testing is required, not explicitly how and by whom.

Something I point out a lot: The term 'manage' has unfortunate ambiguity in IT as it is used to describe the control of activity towards organisational objectives (the usual usage) as well as the actual work that is being directed, as in 'managing' as system. (Same could be said of the term 'administration').

ITIL is a management framework in the first sense of the word. So while it is quite clear the changes need to be tested, and that realease management includes a specific stage for fit-for-purpose testing, ITIL no more specifies what roles, skill or methods be applied that a guide to hospital management would dicate clinical practice.

Change and Release Management manage the process, they are not for carrying out the changes, in change the responsibility falls to the change builder - usually a technical specialist, who will decide appropriate testing methodology in consultation with the manger and according to policy and the requirements of the specific technology involved. In release, project management methodologies are often used to build and deploy releases and the PM with the release manger will oversee and direct testing where required by normal production methodology.

Also ITIL has an Infrastructure Management chapter which details the lower level organisation of technical support groups. As well as an application managment chapter which looks at the managment issues around the application lifecycle.

Lastly there is a whole area of testing that occurs within the development process - ITIL is not a development methodology, and covers the task of integrating production and devolpment through manged change and release, but accepts that development methodologies include testing.

So the change and/or release manger 'own' testing to the extent they are accountable for it being done correctly, not for designing and carrying out the methodology. Where? Well at key gates in the processes, such as fit for purpose - but generally where the type of activity dictates. (And not within development) In short, under ITIL testing is done by exactly the same people who would conduct testing in a non-ITIL guided environemt, only under ITIL they are 'managed' more effectively Smile

Hope that helps.
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trouble
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool I'm back.

Thank you Ed and rjp for the replies. I am still finding a little difficult trying to agree to the replies though.

I am looking at service improvement and using ITIL to help me do it. However, we feel that 'Testing' is a big part of quality that, as you have mentioned, covers development, integration of products, etc. rjp says that chage/realease would be accountable for testing to be done correctly. As with all the other ITIL disciplines, who would create and manage the Testing documentation to make sure that the correct documentation was performed, bearing in mind that Testing spreads across all areas of ITIL (SS, SD, App, ICTIM, Security) for quality?

I think I understand most of the ITIL functions; If one person is responsible for each area, this is what we have. Change Management, doesn't perform the change, but manage the change to make sure that all are informed and prepared. Problem Management may use a virtual team of engineers to fully diagnose reaccuring incidents and find the fix for Problem Management. Security, don't necessarily perform all the security checks, but make sure that everybody is aware of the risks and security measures that should be applied. Etc, Etc. So, who creates and manages the Test (quality) function and where would it best sit within ITIL?

Like I said before, I think I know where I will put this function within the ITIL teams that are being developed, but I would like some confirmation or opinions from others, AND why it is rarely mentioned in any of the books.
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Guerino1
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good Day,

I've documented what I find to be the most common implementation of testing in many of the organizations I've either worked for or provided solutions for, as well as for the organizations I run.

Testing is owned by the Test Manager(s), who is/are fully accountable to the Release Manager, the Product Manger, and the Product Owner. This does not mean that he/she does all this work, although it is possible.

Test Managers ensure that:

- Test Cases have been defined and implemented
- Test Suites have been defined and implemented
- Reference data is all definied and implemented
- Test related documention is all in place
- Regressions have been created and properly stored
- Unit/Module Testing is performed
- Systems Integration Testing is performed
- Performance Testing is performed
- Stress Testing is performed
- Functional Testing is performed
- User Acceptance Testing is performed
- Etc.

He/she is usually responsible for ensuring that the quality of the tests is appropriate, that the test cases and test suites are appropriately constructed and documented, that tests are repeatable and possibly automated in regression trees, etc.

It does not mean that he/she is the one doing all this work, although it is possible. He/she is accountable for all of it. As a result, he/she is accountable to those people who own and manage the Product and its Releases, as they are the ones accountable for getting the Product and its Releases into their targeted environments and out to their targeted audiences.

I hope this helps,

Regards,
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trouble
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again.

I understand testing and the owner as the Test Manager. I also understand that system engineers fit in ICTIM, Developers fit in Application Management, Problem Analyst fits in Problem Management, Availability Manager fits in Availability Management, Security Analyst fits under Security Management, etc., all of which are ITIL functions.

Are you saying that Testing Manager sits under Release Management OR Am I trying to 'fit' the Testing function somewhere within ITIL where I shouldn't?
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Guerino1
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Trouble,

Please remember that nothing is ever cut in stone and that there are multiple ways to be successful. However, if you're looking for the most common best practices, then I'd have to say that Testing, in most organizations, is within the realm of the Product teams. Therefore, in "most" organizations, Test Manager is a role that reports either into the Product Manager or the Product Owner (ultimately everyone and everything about a Product rolls into the Product Owner).

In some other organizations, where "certain pieces of testing" are part of a large and centralized group, the owner of the testing group runs the function but his/her functions, responsibilities, and outputs are accountable to the Product Manager and Product Owners.

Note: My personal experiences have shown me that centralized testing teams are usually very ineffective and act as major bottlenecks to progress. However, it doesn't mean that a centralized testing team can't be successful. I have seen many centralized testing teams, however, I can't say that I have ever seen one that is truly effective. Most centralized testing teams I've seen want to believe that they own the Product after it leaves the hands of the developers, which causes all types of conflict and contention, within an organization. All teams forget that the product is owned by no one but the Product Owner and that they are delegates to perform specific functions necessary to fulfill the work necessary to get a Product Release out the door.

In some organizations, the Test Managers are put directly under the Release Manager, as the the Release Manager has responsibility for the logistics of the Release and, in many cases, will have the delegated authority to make signoff decisions in each and every environment. In this case, the Test Manager is still, ultimately, under the Product Manager and Product Owner, as the Release Manager is accountable to them, anyhow.

In any event, there are many options that will work. I would be careful about using ITIL as a guide for testing best practices. It is "very" weak in this area. You are better off looking at guides such as RUP, SDLC, AGILE, etc. Even if it's for hardware and infrastructure, I believe they still seem to provide more complete and general guidelines.

One thing to keep in mind, that I personally find to be a gap in many organizations, is that testing must be done by environment, such that testing becomes more rigorous as you move into forward environments and closer to your production environment.

BTW, one thing I personally find lacking in many organizations is the testing of the Release logistics in each and every environment. This includes but is not limited to "Builds, Deployments/Distributions, Installations, Instantiations, Executions, Deconstructions, Conversions, Rollbacks, etc."

I hope this helps.

Regards,
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rjp
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frank's comments on this are very good.

To 'contextualise' the question in a more general way.

You can think of testing as one aspect of managing quality. There are also a number of aspects to qualtiy control apart from testing of new releases. Eg, controling the quality of your ITSM processes themselves. QC includes operational metrics as well as testing programs.

QC requires a distinct skill set (eg., 6 Sigma). But it is just like other requisite skills in IT that are not explicit subsets of ITSM - financial / accounting skills, security mangement (as your own comments point out), project management, and so on. The 'ITIL' management functions need to understand these related capabilities and coordinate and direct them.

They come 'under' ITSM functions - not 'within' them.

(I think Frank has clarified sufficiently just where testing can come 'under' ITSM).
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trouble
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thank you all.

I am satisfied with the answers Laughing
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derweeks
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 12:51 am    Post subject: Testing in ITIL Capacity Management Reply with quote

We do testing as part of our ITIL capacity management process. We merge load testing and modeling to test capacity and performance characteristics.

I guess you should ask when testing should take place?

- are you testing infrastructure or applications prior to deployment?
- are you testing after deployment?
- are you testing a new application or change that will be taking place in the future?
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