No matter your industry, delivering products to your customers that make their jobs easier and work as expected is key to growing your brand and bolstering your reputation.
A big part of ensuring that your organization can deliver products and services that meet customer standards is by establishing a quality assurance (QA) function that standardizes review processes and integrates testing best practices. With this larger QA process, many organizations also utilize user acceptance testing (UAT) as a way to get direct feedback from customers ensuring that quality, functionality, and security meet expectations.
But why should organizations focus on quality assurance and invest the time and resources into UAT? And what can a UAT program look like in practice? This article answers these key questions and gives you some next steps to improve your own internal quality assurance practices.
Usually led by an internal staff member or team, the quality assurance function is responsible for creating the structure, documenting, and evaluating a product, using existing best practices and tools to facilitate the process. The QA manager or function is also responsible for managing the process to track results of different testing efforts, as well as defect tracking, to ensure that the items identified are resolved or mitigated.
What Is User Acceptance Testing?
Often considered the last stage of the software development process, user acceptance testing involves representatives from the customer organization or a subset of a customer base participating in evaluating the functionality and design of a product. This group of customers ensures that the form, function, and feel of the product meets the requirements and that the product works as the instructions intend.
To add the necessary structure, reportability, and specificity that the developers need, users follow test cases, which are representative actions pulled from real product functionality or real-life workflows, to ensure the product meets their expectations.
The UAT feedback is then sent back to the development team with a determination of the priority and/or severity of the issue for resolution. Once agreement is reached on the outstanding issues and the functionality of the system, and the customer gives their approval, the product can move on to the next stage of testing.
How Does UAT Testing Processes Help Ensure Quality Assurance?
As with any form of structured testing, UAT focuses on making sure that a company is delivering products that meet customer requirements before it reaches the open market or is delivered. UAT, along with other testing like system integration and functional testing, are key parts of development methodologies like agile or waterfall.
UAT also supports the larger QA function of an organization through the formality of the testing process that surrounds it. UAT often includes the user test scripts or cases, documentation to capture the results of the testing, and confirmation of the quality of the product as it moves through the various iterations of testing.
Because QA is an ongoing, iterative, and specialized function embedded within an organization, the results of each UAT testing effort can inform the development of better testing processes and test cases, as well as provide more tools, experience, and data for overall QA functions to improve their effectiveness.
Where to Learn More
Hearing directly from customers on how well your product meets their needs and expectations is an important step in not only bolstering your quality assurance program, but also growing your business.
Fortunately, no matter how mature your organization’s QA function is, there are solutions that can facilitate and expedite these important testing functions. For example, TestMonitor is specifically designed to assist in structuring, organizing, tracking, and facilitating larger organizational QA functions, as well as the specific steps, inputs, and outputs of the UAT process. Over time, your team will be able to focus more time and resources on delivering a sound product than on the mechanics of the testing itself, while also providing more peace of mind to customers that your products are thoroughly tested.
To learn more about quality assurance, testing, and other industry topics, check out the TestMonitor blog. To see the power of our platform for yourself, click here for your own 14-day free trial of TestMonitor.