User Acceptance Testing (UAT), or application testing, is the final stage of any software development or change request lifecycle before go-live. It is the final stage of any development process to determine that the software does what it was designed to do in real-world situations.
This testing plays a vital role in validating if all the business requirements are fulfilled or not before releasing the software for market use. Live data and actual use cases make this testing essential to the release cycle.
After performing loads of system, integration and regression testing, one would wonder about the necessity of this testing. This is the most crucial phase of the project as this is the time at which the users who use the system would validate the procedure for its fit to purpose.
The primary purpose of acceptance testing is to validate end-to-end business flow.
Documentation of your UAT testing strategy and the overall plan is indispensable to the outcome of your current and future tests. It should include:
Out-of-scope situations worth testing
1) Environment setup and deployment process:
Carrying out this test in the same environment the functional test team used overlooks the real-world use cases. Also, crucial testing activities like performance testing can’t be carried out in an environment with incomplete test data. A separate production-like domain should be set up for this test. Once the UAT environment is separated from the test environment, you must effectively control the release cycle. An uncontrolled release cycle may lead to different software versions in test and UAT environments. Valuable acceptance test time is wasted when the software is not tested on the latest version.
2) Test Planning:
This testing should be planned with an explicit acceptance test plan in the requirement analysis and design phase. Defining the test objectives for this testing is imperative as a complete test execution is impossible for significant applications in this testing phase. Testing should be carried out by prioritising critical business objectives first.
3) Handling new business requirements as incidents/defects:
Ambiguities in requirements get caught in the UAT phase. UAT testers find issues arising due to ambiguous conditions (by looking at the complete UI, which wasn’t available during the requirement gathering phase) and log it as a defect. The customer expects these to be fixed in the current release without considering the time for the change requests. If the project manager does not take a timely decision on these last-minute changes, this could lead to release failure.
4) Unskilled testers or testers without business knowledge:
When no permanent team exists, the company selects UAT staff from various internal departments. Even if the staff is well familiar with the business needs, or if they are not trained for the new requirements that are being developed, they can’t perform effective UAT. Also, a non-technical business team might face many technical difficulties executing the test cases. Meanwhile, assigning testers at the end of the UAT cycle does not add any value to the project. Little time to train the UAT staff can significantly increase the chances of UAT success.
5) Improper Communication Channel:
Communication between remote development, testing, and the UAT team is more complicated. Email communication is often tricky when you have an offshore tech team. A slight ambiguity in incident reports can delay its fix for a day. Proper planning and effective communication are critical to effective team collaboration. Project teams should use a web-based tool to log defects and questions. This will help to distribute the workload evenly and avoid reporting duplicate issues.
Engaging both your functional and business users on a standardised platform from the start is key to ensuring tests reflect actual end-to-end business processes. The right solution will offer collaborative technologies to coordinate among cross-functional, globally-dispersed users and will be intuitive enough to provide business users are comfortable with the process.