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What is Service Transition?
ITIL service transition helps plan and manage the change of state of a service in its lifecycle. Managing risk for new, changed and retired services protects the product environment. This helps the business deliver value to itself and its customers.
Curating service knowledge helps all stakeholders make informed, reliable decisions and support challenges with service delivery. Both managing service risk and curating service knowledge are integral to service transition.
During service transition, the following organizational elements need support:
- Service Strategy
- Suppliers of the service
- Organizational culture
No change is without risk. In fact, change can create extra risk. When transitioning services, focus on communication planning for awareness and compliance. One of the biggest challenges in service transition is changing people’s behavior to accommodate a new or different service. People have a psychological need to feel safe and comfortable with changes to them and around them.
Change ManagementITIL Change Management Processes & Best Practices ›
ITIL change evaluation analyzes Changes before they move to the next phase in their lifecycle. The lifecycle of a change includes several points at which a go/no-go decision needs to be made:
- Authorization to build and test
- Authorization to check software into the definitive media library (DML)
- Authorization to deploy
We should evaluate all changes. But, for significant changes a formal evaluation process should be invoked. Each organization must define for itself what “significant change” is.
The evaluation should include:
- Evaluating the intended effects of the change
- As far as possible, anticipating any unintended effects of the change
- Identifying risks
- Presenting a recommendation to change management on whether to proceed to the next stage
The change management process can make the go/no-go decision on proceeding to the next stage.
Release and deployment management handles designing and building packages of approved changes. It also deals with deployment into the live environment and the planning thereof. The aim is to implement approved changes with minimal disruption to the live environment.
Release and deployment management creates and enforces a release policy. Below are some of the items contained in a typical policy:
- Release naming and numbering conventions
- Roles and responsibilities at each stage of the process
- Expected frequency for each release type
- Exit and entry criteria for acceptance into each service transition phase
An important resource for release and deployment management is the definitive media library (DML). This is a physical repository containing the master (or gold) copy of the installation media for all approved software. The purpose of the DML is to serve as the source for all software media to be deployed to the live environment. The DML typically also contains license information and the master copy of software documentation.
The steps involved in the release and deployment process are as follows:
Release and deployment planning
The starting point for this activity is the service design package (SDP) provided by the design coordination process. The SDP provides guidelines for packaging and deployment. We add to these the scope and content of the release, who the stakeholders are, roles and responsibilities for the release, and a deployment schedule.
Release build and test
This starts with the authorization by change management to build and test the release. It concludes with the authorization by change management to check the software into the DML. Release packages are built in this step and tested according to the criteria identified in the previous step. Actual testing is carried out by the service validation and test process.
This step starts with the authorization by change management to deploy the release. Activities vary depending on the scale of the release, but may include the following:
- Notification of stakeholders to ensure they are aware of, and agree to, the deployment plans
- Knowledge transfer. This includes training of the service desk and user community as well as input to problem management on any known errors included in the release
- Capturing a baseline (snapshot) of the current state of configuration items affected by the release
- Deployment to the live environment
- Invocation of the back-out plan, if necessary
- Documentation of any deviation from the planned cost, effort, or results
- Updates to the configuration management system (CMS)
- Early life support monitoring of performance in the first days and weeks after deployment. This ensures that we can resolve unexpected incidents and problems rapidly
- Review and close. Capture any learning and feedback. Review results achieved versus planned.
Testing can take place at any point in the service lifecycle but, it generally occurs during Service Transition. The service validation and testing process plans, conducts and reports on tests of new or changed services. The results of testing go to the change evaluation process to support a decision on whether to proceed.
The service design package (SDP) outlines the tests to perform.
Working with change evaluation, service validation and testing will:
- Work with transition planning and support to plan the resources required for testing
- Plan and design tests
- Schedule tests
- Prepare the test environment
- Perform the tests
- Evaluate exit criteria and report
- Clean up and close tests
Service validation and test will perform different types of tests, as called for in the service design package. Types of tests include:
- Utility testing. Does the service deliver the required functionality?
- Warranty testing. Will the service deliver required levels of availability, capacity, security, and continuity?
- Usability testing. Will the service be usable by all potential users, including those with restricted abilities?
- Contract and regulation testing. Will the service conform to applicable regulatory and contract requirements?
- Operational readiness testing. Are the support functions, including the service desk, staffed and trained to support the new or changed service?
What is service asset and configuration management? Successful service delivery requires a large number of assets of different types such as computers, network equipment etc. In addition, various artifacts created during service management, such as policies, service level agreements, and the service catalog, are required for successful administration and delivery of services.
ITIL refers to such assets as configuration items (CI's). Service asset and configuration management creates one or more configuration management databases (CMDBs) to maintain accurate information about CIs, including:
- Current state
- Relationships with other CIs
- Audit trail
To maintain the currency and accuracy of a CMDB, service asset and configuration management relies on change management to ensure that only authorized changes occur and that the results of change are accurately recorded.
Service asset and configuration management maintains the configuration management system (CMS). The CMS comprises the following:
- Data layer. CMDBs and related databases, such as the problem database, change database, request database etc.
- Integration layer. Tools to integrate the items in the data layer so that they can be treated as one logical database.
- Knowledge processing layer. Tools to analyze, model, and report on the contents of the integrated database.
- Presentation layer. Tools to provide customized views of the database for the different user communities. All parts of service management have a need to view the contents of the database, but each has its own specific needs.
Knowledge ManagementITIL Knowledge Management Processes & Best Practices ›
At any time, there will be several projects passing through the service transition phase of the lifecycle. It is the responsibility of transition planning and support to coordinate service transition activities for all these projects.
Specifically, the responsibilities of transition planning and support include:
- Work with capacity management to ensure that adequate resources are available
- Where there is contention for resources, develop a schedule that meets the requirements of the stakeholders
- Ensure that all parties use a standard, reusable process framework.
- Monitor and improve the performance of the Service Transition lifecycle phase.