A while ago, we published an article on “What User Acceptance Testing is all about” and a follow up article on “5 UAT Testing Types”. Since then, we got a lot of feedback from users and people asking for further advice on the topic of UAT.
Therefore we decided to sum up all those inquiries and answer the following question: ”What’s the key to a successful User Acceptance Testing?”
We put our heads together and collected the following six tips for you. Enjoy reading & have fun executing your next User Acceptance Test Plan.
A quick summary on User Acceptance Testing
User Acceptance Testing is one of the last steps in a software development process.
It’s the big test before going public. Sometimes User Acceptance testing is referred to as “beta testing”. As we’ve shown you in this article on the 5 types of UAT, you probably know that there’s more than beta testing to UAT.
All in all, UAT is about the user and if a certain product or service works for the user.
A process of verifying that a solution works for the user.
1. Plan your User Acceptance Testing efforts
As with every project, planning is everything. A well-structured UAT plan is key. Therefore we collected a few questions you need to answer before getting started:
- Which of your employees and project members are involved in the UAT project phase?
- Who is responsible for which tasks? Who’s doing the strategic planning? Who’s managing the logistics?
- Who is responsible for the operative UAT test execution?
- Work on your test criteria before starting to execute your plan. And work on a detailed User Acceptance Testing plan.
We’ve collected all those test criteria and created this UAT checklist for getting started with your test plan.
2. User Acceptance Tests are nerve-racking
As mentioned before, UAT tests are the last project phase in every software development. At least, they should be. In many real projects those UAT tests are overlooked. Mostly because of time restrictions and a lack of knowledge.
Sometimes those User Acceptance tests are well executed. But then, those results show some major defects which can’t be fixed without delaying the project deadlines.
Depending on your project size, it definitely makes sense to include your potential users right from the beginning. In order to avoid developed features which users won’t get, you can include them in an agile software development process.
3. Your user is your central hub
As the headline suggests, you should always put your users first. Especially when it comes to User Acceptance Testing.
When analyzing testing results, you should always consider the characteristics of your users too. Don’t simply perform UAT tests with friends, colleagues, and family.
Make sure to get real users. Potential users should take a key role in User Acceptance Tests.
So how does one select users for a User Acceptance Test group? Make sure you get a diverse set of people which have not only different backgrounds and skills but also vary in their use cases and problems they have.
4. Documentation is key.
Conducting User Acceptance Tests is a great thing to do. Yep – it is.
However, you won’t believe how many organizations perform UAT, though forget to document testing results.
A test only makes sense to be conducted, if you document the outcome in order to analyze and improve what you have tested.
There are various ways to document your UAT results. The easiest form of documenting the errors and failures your users encounter is by making use of a simple bug tracking and error reporting tool.
Everything must be documented. Even if it looks just like a tiny bug. It could be useful for a later test analysis.
5. One-on-one sessions
User Acceptance Test outcomes should always include qualitative data about the user. And the easiest way to collect this data is by one-on-one sessions. If you can’t be physically in the same room as your testers, make sure to set up a video call for the test performance.
Emotional expressions, reaction time and the overall mood is essential when analysing the UAT test results.
And most importantly, record those video calls and tests.
6. Make communication easier.
A UAT team is embedded in a larger project or product team. And since those UAT teams are working remotely in many cases, you need to find an efficient form of communication.
Emails are highly inefficient for UAT communication. Communicating with users, testers, developers and other key players via email will drive you nuts.
We eat our own dog food, which means that we use our own software testing tool for UAT purposes. It enables us to execute UAT tests and communicate with UAT testers throughout the project phase via this feedback tool.
Wrapping it up.
User Acceptance Testing plays a crucial role in every software development department. The benefits of well-executed UAT tests are obvious. You can ensure that your product or service actually works for your users.
Therefore launching your product isn’t a leap into the unknown. When conducting User Acceptance Tests you have already gathered a lot of information on how your potential users and customers will use your product.
And most importantly, you will avoid such stressful situations when going live:
— Thomas Peham (@tompeham) January 15, 2016
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