User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is a vital activity to ensure that a new or upgraded application can support the business use cases. Typically performed by key business users / subject matter experts, it is an unpopular drain on the business with people untrained in testing asked to document their tests and potential issues in sufficient detail so that they can be reproduced.
Do you just have to accept that UAT is:
Time consuming and resource hungry?
Very often not effective, leaving costly bugs to be found in production?
Difficult to control and organize?
Probably the most expensive testing you will carry-out?
Likely to raise barriers between IT and business users?
Often frustrating for all involved?
Does not achieve the objectives of defect free production and engaged users?
No, you don’t have to accept this, and you should not! You can address all these issues and in the process ensure software is delivered 60% quicker, with fewer errors, saving you thousands of dollars and enabling the whole team to deliver more projects.
The UAT team will largely comprise key users from the line of business. These are the people who know and understand the processes that the new or amended application is intended to support. However, by the fact that these are the key users, there are many other calls on their time and normal business operations will suffer while the UAT is in progress. Inevitably it is difficult to keep 100% of their attention as phone calls, urgent emails and unavoidable meetings will impact on their availability.
User Acceptance Testing must be planned around normal operations. As there is no guarantee that the new application will be available by a given date, you have to estimate when impact on the business will be minimized.
The duration is difficult to predict as it is dependent on the number of issues discovered, their criticality and the time taken to correct. It is common for a UAT phase to kick-off and then be rapidly suspended if a critical error is discovered at an early stage in a business process.
The number of iterations of UAT will be governed by the stability of the application. If few errors are found then a single cycle may be sufficient but most companies will plan on a minimum of two iterations with an outline plan for a third if needed.
There are many associated benefits but the overriding win is that the impact on the business users can be reduced by 40% which is transformational for the business and the users attitude to UAT.
Few business users ever have aspirations to be an application tester. User Acceptance Testing is viewed as an unavoidable, necessary evil which will allow the business to benefit from a new or enhanced application. So very few of the people undertaking this critical activity will have any training as a tester with the inevitable consequences.
Problems are often poorly reported using a combination of screen shots and email at best. Sometimes an issue cannot be reproduced and only a vague description will be available. The focus will naturally be on issues that are discovered with positive tests often not reported. So test coverage or complete proof of testing cannot be provided for the increasingly deep scrutiny from internal review and external audit.
UAT is the poor relation to most areas of information technology, poorly served by technology that could transform this labor intensive process. Common tools of choice are spreadsheets, documents and email augmented by the occasional screenshot. This is unfortunate but also understandable.
User Acceptance Testing is an occasional activity and the business users involved have insufficient time as it is, without investing hours into learning a new tool.
The great news is that our solutions have been designed with exactly this class of users in mind. Training is measured in minutes not days and the results are transformational. The test documentation load is instantly removed from business users, while the quality of test results is elevated to new heights.
Train users in minutes not days.
Lessen the burden on the business users.
Improve test coverage in every UAT iteration.
Elevate the quality of test results.
UAT is not a single activity, but one that must be repeated until the application meets the acceptance criteria, or the implementation is cancelled. Several cycles will be required with inevitable increase in user fatigue until only the report issues are re-tested. This has the unfortunate consequence that the test cycle with the least coverage will be the one before the application is implemented into the live environment. This is also the point where the blame game starts, as the business users wonder why issues, such as the one’s they’ve found, ever made it out of development in the first place.
Fortunately, our solution will enable you to capture the early cycles of UAT, as the basis for automated regression testing in subsequent UAT cycles. This lessens the burden on the business users while improving the test coverage in every UAT iteration. If this is an enhancement to an existing application, then existing automation assets can be used, re-synchronized to the enhanced application if necessary.
Capture early cycles of UAT as the basis for automated regression testing in other UAT cycles.
Lessen burden on business users while improving test coverage in every UAT iteration.
Existing automation assets can be used, re-synchronized to the enhanced application.
Users, from different teams and business groups, need to collaborate as transactions flow through the business, from one team to another.
For example; Operations cannot test order dispatch, until Sales have completed order entry and Finance have completed credit checking. Testing depends on previous activities. Without a clear view of testing progress and the details of the activity already completed, time will be wasted, and any miscommunication will create gaps and mistakes.
Qualify defines the process and supports the execution of individual tests by multiple teams. Synchronized management of the testing tasks, team members and progress, leads to more efficient scheduling and a more visible flow of the data from one team to another.
Define the process and support individual tests by multiple teams.
Synchronise management of the testing tasks, team members and progress.
More efficient scheduling.
More visible flow of the data from one team to another.
Once UAT has been successfully completed the rest of the business user community, who will be using the application, need to be trained in readiness for the live implementation.
This training needs to be overseen by someone with knowledge of the entire application, to ensure they are no gaps in the processes between business groups. To an extent the UAT team can undertake the training, but the business needs that team back in their roles, catching up on their work backlog.
So formal training may be limited, instead the focus will be on supporting your colleagues once they are using the application with the inevitable catalog of errors and user frustration.
Results that are automatically created for every UAT run create the ideal material to produce great training guides.
High quality pictures are interspersed with the details of every mouse action and keyboard entry.
Remove any redundant entries and enhance with bubble text.
Output your training guide automatically as a Word document, PDF or an animation.
This addresses challenges with tester and developer collaboration e.g.
Tester: “What is it I am testing?”
Testing with incomplete / non-existent requirements
Developer: “Bug? Works for me… Come show me.”