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March 16, 2021

User Acceptance Testing in Quality Assurance

UA entails more than just ensuring the quality of your products, proper user acceptance testing goes beyond asking business stakeholders to explore the application.

The User Acceptance Testing Concept:

According to ISTQB glossary, User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is: “A type of acceptance testing performed to determine if intended users accept the system.”

The main purpose of UAT is to ensure that the solution by the project meets the functional and non-functional requirements specified in the business requirements. UAT may also identify issues that have not been specified in the Business Requirement Document such as those relating to usability. Typically UAT used to be at the very end, a step before rolling out the solution. UAT is typically carried out by end users in an environment that closely models the real world. A well-managed UAT process will give the stakeholders, project team and end users confidence that the solution being delivered meets the requirements.

To increase speed and get up and running as soon as possible with the new version, or the deadline is over our heads or even for marketing needs ... the project schedule is reduced almost always by cutting the testing effort, mainly the user acceptance testing activities.

And this usually comes at a high cost because UAT often uncovers problems and clarifies requirements for software. Some challenges and issues you will find if no have a proper UAT process are:

  • Business issues will be found
  • Support team will be overwhelmed
  • Time of development project will need be extended 

UAT in Agile frameworks

At ArkusNexus we work with Agile frameworks which helps to avoid this kind of problems. Agile frameworks brought user acceptance testing into all stages of the software development process.

In old school process model deployments, UAT is typically the final phase in the software development lifecycle. However, it's difficult and expensive to find out that a product fails to deliver on its promises, or includes big defects, right before it goes live.

Product owners can solve this problem in Agile development. Product owners provide input on user story prioritization, how to define acceptance criteria, end-user-related questions and feature approval for release. And when business stakeholders test earlier in the process, they'll find fewer big defects right before deployment.

Proper user acceptance testing goes beyond asking business stakeholders to explore the application, try out new features and find issues. Successful UAT requires thorough planning and execution, just like any other test. Here are a few user acceptance testing best practices to follow:

  • Set up testers to succeed. Choose business stakeholders who are subject-matter experts, and make sure they have time to dedicate to testing.
  • Prepare a realistic test environment and data. The UAT environment and test data must resemble production as closely as possible.
  • Create test criteria. A QA manager or test lead should work with QA professionals to ensure the test coverage is complete. Checklists provide an effective alternative to test cases and scripts. Acceptance criteria should form the basis of testing user stories.
  • Separate UAT and other QA tests. It's just as important to know what UAT doesn't include. User acceptance tests should not duplicate the functional or regression tests that QA professionals perform. Although UAT also addresses risk, base the risk assessment and prioritization of these tests on the actual user's perspective.

Beta testing as a good strategy for UAT

Though it might be difficult to schedule user participation with people distributed across your organization, UAT is usually quite valuable. Giving users an advanced look at the next version of your software generally helps maintain productivity and encourages adoption. Conducting UAT also demonstrates that the deploying organization is proactive and responsive to the needs of the people who are using the software.

Adaptation to change and user support challenges

Under controlled and well defined UAT allows stakeholders and project team to focus on other implementation challenges. Is well known every implementation of a new software version implies adaptation needs for end users so in order to minimize the gap between the solution and end users we should keep an eye into the end users confidence and guide them through the change.

For this reason it is essential to have the capacity to attend this necessity, training support team and release a version without any critical or high issues. That is why in ArkusNexus we care about the whole development process, just to give our clients the capacity to attend this critical phase of the process implementation. We commit to business needs from scratch to engage our process on it and build a strong and reliable software, from requirements definition to assist to UAT definitions plan.

Conclusion

Business stakeholders must agree to the application or feature before the IT team deploys the software into production. After that, the customer finds flaws and problems. Don't underestimate the value of adding a little more testing before that happens.

That is why ArkusNexus is committed to the business of our clients, not only by correctly developing a solution, but also by developing the right solution for their business and facilitating the implementation and rapid adaptation of the end users. Contact us here for more information.

Learn about automated Quality assurance.

References:

Case Study from Arkusnexus
Leopoldo Flanagan
Leopoldo is currently on mind teams (MT), performing as a Quality Engineer, he enjoys looking for improvements in the QA process and implementing them. He loves to spend free time brewing and tasting beer.
lflanagan@arkusnexus.com
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