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4 Key Questions to Ask When Test Planning

by René Ceelen, on November 12, 2020

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If you’re a fan of the TestMonitor blog, you already know that we’ve previously shared the many benefits of user acceptance testing (UAT). 

UAT leverages the power of human end users to test a software project. That kind of powerful tool results in a world-class software build and ensures end user satisfaction. An automated robot testing system simply cannot replicate that kind of outcome. 

However, each of these advantages to manual UAT becomes irrelevant if your team ignores the most vital aspect of UAT: planning.

The Best-Laid Plans

World-class UAT planning allows your team to identify business-critical issues that must be addressed as the UAT begins and progresses. When properly planned, your team’s project can make midcourse corrections and avoid outdated, inefficient, and complex processes.

All-star planning tactics direct your testing approach, detail key testing practices, and define the responsibilities and expectations of the UAT team as well as testers. The process typically starts in a simple way—as simple as asking the right questions.

Question Everything

Planning begins by asking key questions—and the answer may be “we do not know.” Encourage your team to ask any questions without judgment. Questions such as, “What does success look like?” or “What’s the timeline for a winning test design?” or “Which UAT tool Is right for our project?”

Once your team exhausts the questioning process (within reason), prioritize the key questions; separate the wheat from the chaff. Gather input from team members to distill a set of actionable questions that point in the proper direction. 

As noted in our new e-book, The Complete Guide to Next-Level User Acceptance Testing, “Best procedural practices flow from answering the key aspects of the overall UAT design.” 

Finally, create a culture of inquiry. Communicate clearly to your team that questioning will never be punished. Here are the top four questions your team should consider along the UAT journey:

Question 1: What Does Success Look Like? 

A key task your UAT team should accomplish in the planning process is defining the specific UAT objective. What problem is being solved or what need is being met? What type of testing is needed and for what outcome? Examples include website/mobile app tests, as well as testing an enterprise resource planning system (ERP).

Once your team envisions and internalizes the desired outcome, bring in your toolkit and apply tactics that solve or address requirements, risks, test cases, and dependencies. 

Make sure you gather a consensus of what the requirements are. From there, you can ensure that your team meets those requirements and mitigates the risks. 

Finally, determine if the process consists of outcome-based test cases with an actionable end goal and address entry and acceptance criteria. The core requirements of good testing include: availability of acceptance criteria that are developed in test scenarios with specific test kits, approval procedures for changes, and a test environment that is separate from the production environment.

Question 2: What’s the Timeline for a Winning Test Design?

The answer to this question can be made pretty evident by using a top-level UAT toolkit that empowers the team with an overhead view of all test runs across all timelines. Your tool must account for regression testing, in addition to other legacy test cases.

By leveraging such a powerful UAT tool, communicating the timeline clearly across all team members and managers becomes second nature.

Question 3: How Do Users Fit into the Plan?

Once a clear, actionable timeline is accepted, it’s time to focus on users. Your plan must determine how users are included in test case approval. That type of planning empowers you to map out how to plan best test runs.

Few things will hamper your user deployment plans more than shoddy communication. Create a plan to communicate expectations and processes to users. Are meeting schedules made clear? How about the best means of communication? It may seem obvious, but many plans fail to detail how the user will actually use the product.

Question 4: What UAT Tool Is Right for Our Project?

We’ve saved this question for last, but it’s certainly not least. In fact, choosing the best UAT for your project is a primary part of the planning phase. 

Your project deserves a superior UAT toolkit that advances your team’s efforts to create test cases based on requirements, applications, and risks. A scalable, comprehensive platform like TestMonitor follows best practices in UAT planning that results in optimal onboarding of end users.

The best-laid plans of your UAT process will address each of these four questions and many others, accounting for every aspect of manual testing—defining requirements and risks, planning test runs, analyzing test results, managing related issues and, of course, designing tests. TestMonitor is just that kind of high-level tool. Check out our latest free publication, The Complete Guide to Next-Level User Acceptance Testing, today and watch your questions transform into action-facing answers. 

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