User Acceptance Testing (UAT) can be one of the most stressful phases of the software development life cycle, but it is also one of the most important. In most cases, it is the first time that some of the potential end-users can get hands-on with the software or system and see how their requirements have come alive with all of the hard work that went into development.
It is also an important time for your internal team; UAT can give your team the motivation and confirmation that they need to be sure that the software you are developing is delivering value and meeting end user expectations.
So how can your project team establish the most ideal UAT environment to make this testing phase as efficient, streamlined, and productive as possible? In this article we will cover what we believe are the key aspects that need to be in place.
Create a robust UAT plan
UAT is more than just, “Test the software to make sure it works.” You need to define specific, measurable objectives not only for the entire UAT testing process, but also for the specific functional and technical requirements.
Creating the right UAT environment also means making sure you have the right test approach and plan in place to create and manage test cases, capture, mitigate, and monitor risks, and confirm user acceptance.
With all of these in place - your objectives and your approach to the testing process itself - you can create an overall testing timeline that includes scheduled test runs and key milestones to keep your team on track and on schedule.
Use the an industry-leading test management tool
With a robust UAT plan in place, you then need a flexible and powerful test management tool that gives your testing team the tools they need to track requirements from end-to-end, prioritize remediation tasks, and design, execute, and manage test runs.
An industry-leading UAT tool also includes an extensive library of testing templates that can accelerate the administrative side of testing, including test templates that provide blueprints for the outlining test strategies, objectives, schedules, estimations, and deliverables.
A solution like TestMonitor even makes capturing overall UAT tester experiences easy, including an intuitive and flexible method to record feedback, upload attachments, and record pass/fail results.
Be specific with test cases
A test case is a compilation of testing instructions for a tester to follow and determine if the system meets that requirement or standard.
Therefore, it is vital to understand, capture, and communicate what precisely must be tested, why it is important, and what UAT participants should be seeing and doing in their testing role.
At the same time, your testing team also needs to have a critical eye on what is really a “must have” feature or function and what is a “nice to have.” This can help to ensure that you are not bogging down your testers with too many test cases and are making the best use of your UAT environment.
Communicate, early and often
UAT participants often are end-users with a usual day job, which means you are borrowing their time, energy, and experience and taking it temporarily away from other operations.
That’s why it's important to communicate early and often on:
What you need from your testers
When testers will be needed and for how long
How they can use a test management platform to track their work
How progress reports will be generated and distributed
In addition to communicating regularly with your testers, make a set schedule and structured format to share updates with your executive and project stakeholders to keep them abreast of high level progress.
Every UAT testing journey is different, but best practices like these will help your team to lay the foundation for a successful, productive process, everytime.