User acceptance testing (or business acceptance testing) is one of the most important phases in the software development lifecycle. After the code shakeout of unit testing and comprehensive system integration testing, it is time for the end users or subject matter experts (SMEs) to become involved.
The purpose of business acceptance testing
is to engage the end user in the testing process, gain their confidence in the required changes, and give it a practical run-through to experience the benefits first-hand. When the end users or stakeholders are fully involved in the user acceptance testing process, they can understand what changes or enhancements have been made, and can champion the benefits of the changes to a wider user community.
Depending on the size and scope of the project, user acceptance testing might be a subset of the system integration test conditions, with the emphasis on normal business scenarios. The end users have the best understanding of exactly how their business works, and it is critical to have their prior involvement and sign-off on the planning and design of the user acceptance test criteria.
There should be no major surprises in user acceptance testing. This is the testing phase for “happy path” or normal test scenarios. A key component in this final testing phase is a designated contact person for any questions or issues that might arise- usually the business analyst who documented the business requirements and helped to formulate the appropriate test conditions. This contact person can be invaluable in keeping the user acceptance testing on track, and they might be called upon to gently remind the end users that this is not the time to be making design changes or implementing a “nice to have” component.
User acceptance testing is one of the last phases of a project before the decision to “go live”. With involvement and acceptance of the end user, it can be a smooth transition down the happy path to final implementation.
User acceptance testing generally occurs just before the live implementation of software or technical programs. The purpose of user acceptance testing, or UAT, is to ensure that the changes or new technology meet end-user production requirements. Many implementations involve glitches or troubleshooting due to poor UAT. Here are three best practices to help ensure a more fluid implementation.
Create Testing Checklists During Design
One of the reasons user acceptance testing falls flat is because end-users do not understand what they are testing. They may run through a few common functions and assume everything works fine. However, the process created for that monthly event is never tested and fails come end-of-month. To ensure everything is tested, create a checklist of all functionality and have users sign off during testing.
Test at Various Levels
If technology is built to allow for different access levels, then user acceptance testing needs to be conducted at every level. If a supervisor tests all functionality available to him or her, it does not mean employee access will work or that executive-only functionality is without problems. Have at least one tester at every access level.
Use Testers with Different Skills
When asked to choose candidates for user acceptance testing, many managers will often pick the most technically skilled individuals in their area. Although these individuals may be most likely to point out problems and offer actionable critiques, they are not going to be the only people using the system once it goes live. You also need to ensure that users with less computer skills can operate the system. In fact, technically sound individuals may figure out ways around glitches and not report them, so using different skill sets ensures that you return a fair report regarding any problems.
User acceptance testing is an essential part of any software or technology implementation. No matter how small a change, you should always test fully before going live. This will reduce productivity loss due to unplanned troubleshooting.
Before releasing a new computer application, user acceptance testing is essential to ensure that the new software functions as required. One or more usability issues tend to come up no matter how thorough a programmer is on checking for errors and bugs. These errors can only be discovered and fixed before the launch of the program. Designers and computer engineers utilize user acceptance testing to check for errors in applications.
User acceptance testing
is the systematic checking and testing of a series of conditions and cases in an engineered product. This process can be computerized using tests that are intended to imitate the expected results or using people to undertake the tests instead of computers as is the case with user acceptance testing. In most cases, this is normally done by experts who participated in the engineering of the product. Such specialists are known as Subject Matter Experts
(SMEs). The experts check the functionality of all possible inputs and outcomes that the new software offers through trial and error.
The specialists are also given scripts to act as directions. They may have specific input instructions or the testing may simply involve asking the experts to undertake a certain task. Once all the tasks are completed, the results obtained are compared with intended results. The task are said to be successfully completed if the intended results are what has been obtained through the user acceptance testing.
User acceptance tests are normally the last process in the development of an application. Computer acceptance testing is often used because it replicates the real user environment more efficiently. This means that programs that pass user acceptance testing are often assumed to have the capacity to produce the required results with clients.
Though user acceptance testing is primarily used with software development, it can also be utilized for other functions. The functions are generally related to engineering functions such as in the making of engine components and parts as well as the manufacture of chemicals among other uses. The goal of the program is normally the same, to eliminate as many errors as possible so that the end user may get the product they require.
When businesses request a particular software product from a vendor, they often have very specific requirements in mind with regards to how the software should work. Software development is expensive, and significant money and resources can be lost if the software is either built incorrectly or built to specifications that are not desired by the business. User acceptance testing serves several purposes. First, it helps to ensure that the software product works and is stable. Second, it tests that the business requirements are met, to ensure that the client requesting the product will be satisfied with the results.
User acceptance testing goes through a series of steps. First, requirements must be well documented to determine the scope of testing. Prior to any testing being performed, business and functional requirements must be documented. Detailed specifications are outlined and agreed to by both the business and the software developers as to the requirements around areas such as the user interface, scope of functionality, performance expectations and customization. More detail is better in requirements documentation, because ambiguity in the requirements can create undesired results.
After the development of requirements documentation, those working in user acceptance testing develop business scenarios and test cases around the business and functional requirements to ensure that each aspect of the documentation is tested. Scenarios should cover each module discussed in the functional requirements. User acceptance testing involves multiple different areas of testing, including but not limited to field and boundary testing, feature functionality testing, usability testing and end to end testing. For example, if the requirements outline specifications and types of files that can flow through a financial system, then user acceptance testing test cases should cover each of the file types along with different combinations of data supported by those file types. Field and boundary tests can ensure that minimum and maximum supported field lengths in the files will be mapped successfully into the system, and end to end testing ensures the success of the file from initiation to its final posting.
After development of test cases, testers execute them and pass or fail them depending on the expectations of the test cases. When the results do not meet the expected behavior or the system is unstable, testers raise defects for the developers to resolve. Once all test cases have completed successfully and all major defects have been resolved, user acceptance testers may run a regression cycle where the code is frozen to ensure the final code base is stable, working as per the requirements, and defect free. Once testing is completed, results of the testing are documented.
Thorough and comprehensive user acceptance testing is vital to ensure the success of software development. It confirms that software will meet particular business and functional requirements, and helps to ensure customer satisfaction.
Software development firms have intimate knowledge of the software that they create. But since they are not developing software for themselves, but rather for an end-user, the software must be tested on the user through the process of user acceptance testing.
What is User Acceptance Testing?
This form of testing is carried out after the software has been fully developed and is almost ready to be released. The users who have contracted with the software development firm usually want to verify that the firm met their requirements, so user acceptance testing is an important part of the relationship between the client and service provider.
Testing for Bugs
User acceptance testing is also used to locate bugs within software programs. Bugs must be identified within real-world situations where the software is most likely to be used. User acceptance testing must be performed in an environment where the usual demands of productivity are placed on the software program. The closer that the testing environment resembles that of the real-world environment, the more valuable that the test results will be. Bugs located by the end-user after the testing phase can negatively impact the user experience.
In some cases, user acceptance testing is performed on the actual real user. The user must try out the product in a way that the user is likely to use it. Through user acceptance testing, the software developers obtain insight on how the end-user will utilize the product and can improve usability.
The Final Procedure
The final tests produce test results and error reports that are fully documented. Any problems identified through the tests must be corrected. If the tests have passed within acceptable margins, the project sponsor provides a user acceptance sign-off. The program is installed and users are provided with training materials on how to use the program.
User acceptance testing is a method to determine whether an application meets end users’ requirements and does not contain errors. It can refer to a formalized, structured process requiring the use of a test plan that may be 30 pages or more. Testing an application can refer to someone telling a co-worker, “Check out this new program and let me know if it works.” Most user acceptance testing procedures fall somewhere in between these two approaches. Clearly, the second example is not one that you would want to follow if your organization were implementing a new application. But unless a company is large and the project is very complex, most places would not follow the first example either.
The formal process often uses words such as “scenario” to indicate a situation that exists and “actor” to indicate who or what effects that situation. For example, a scenario could demonstrate the need to enter an invoice; an actor could be a data entry person or a computer process that interacts with the invoicing procedure. But you don’t need to use those terms in order to set up a viable user acceptance testing
procedure. What you do have to do is make sure that the people involved in the testing know what the application is supposed to accomplish.
Sometimes there is a business requirements document which lists everything that a system must include. That document makes user acceptance testing more efficient. The testers trace each requirement to the part of the application that handles it. They make sure that the system includes all the requirements, implemented properly. If there is a requirement that is not addressed by the system, or does not function correctly, the application does not pass the user acceptance testing process.
If the end users are willing to wait for this issue to be resolved in a later version of the software, they may agree that the application can be implemented as it is. Frequently, user acceptance testing includes a written statement in which someone with the authority to do so agrees that the application has been accepted. In smaller organizations there may not be a formal sign-off procedure. However, it is a good idea to get written acceptance, especially in cases where the application does not function exactly as originally requested.
Although user acceptance testing is commonly associated with software development, it involves a variety of engineering disciplines, including physical, chemical and performance tests. Whichever area it is concerned with, the process involves confirming that the concerned product meets the users’ requirements.
The product users are the major decision makers on the acceptance or rejection of the concerned product or system. They must therefore be involved in the testing process instead of just relying on the technical experts.
It is not possible to test systems for all possible eventualities. What is important is to test the most relevant functionalities within the required timeframe. With user acceptance testing, the consumers get the opportunity to determine whether the systems deliver what they expect. They understand best what they want, a quality that professional testers may not have. The end users are the ones to shoulder the consequences of the new products and systems.
A programmer may test and conclude (rightly) that a developed system allows the recording of customer data. However, it is the business user who will actually determine whether the system can do this in a busy environment within a 2-minute telephone call. How will the recording be conducted? Will it require switching between multiple screens? Above all, will it help the business user generate money?
User acceptance testing plays an important role in risk management. Since not everything can be tested within the specified timeframe, user acceptance testing ensures that the limited resources are allocated where they will give the best impact.
This is the last step before a system is released for public use. While other tests are concerned with how systems work, user acceptance testing deals with what it does. It provides the proof that the system actually functions according to the users’ requirements.
User acceptance testing, or UAT, is usually the final step before a client or customer accepts a product. These tests are typically done on new software or programming, but there is a business version of user acceptance testing.
User acceptance testing is a process by which a customer will put the product through a series of checks to ensure that the product is acceptable. The IT department of a company might put the program through tests to objectively verify that there will be no crashes or freezes, and to make sure it fits the company needs.
Q-UAT is what businesses use to perform user acceptance testing. The testing is done at certain points throughout the project and is considered quicker and less costly. This model of user acceptance testing takes into the entire business process and how the programs can be best integrated into the business process.
Other types of tests may check to see if the products meet safety and other regulations before being accepted. Alpha and beta tests are sometimes done to provide a double layer of error checking. The alpha test is done at the developers site before release. The beta tests are then done on the consumer end to further test for acceptance.
In an Agile project, there may also be different types of acceptance tests. User stories are implemented to set up a framework of tests to see whether or not the software is acceptable.
Acceptance testing is important to make sure that any software used will fit into your business model and provide an efficient way to do business. If your software is crashing, it will not provide any tangible value.
There are those who may wonder what purpose User Acceptance Testing has when it comes to the development of new software applications. The answer is that it honestly depends on what the individual is referring to when they mention the phrase “user acceptance testing.” By sheer definition in relation to development of software, user acceptance testing relates to the approval required before an application can be successfully launched. The process seeks to confirm that the system in question meets or exceeds mutually decided requirements. Typically, the client of the object being tested provides confirmation after a trial or review.
User acceptance testing is among the final stages of any given software project, which means that it occurs before a client decides whether or not to accept the new system. Test-designers usually come up with tasks which feature a range of levels. The designer of the user acceptance tests usually cannot be the same person who created the system test cases for that same system. That is because the entire point of user acceptance testing is to emulate real-world conditions on the behalf of a small selection of paying customers. If the new system ends up functioning as expected, it is usually decided that the same level of flawless functionality will occur once it is put into production for the client in the real world.
These tests are mostly not performed by end-users and never focus on pinpointing spelling issues or other problems which are strictly cosmetic in nature. They also do not deal with system crashes, as developers are supposed to deal with these problems much earlier in the process. User Acceptance Testing is simply performed to provide the added comfort of confidence to the client and because in many cases, UAT is a legal requirement which developers are contractually bound to complete.
User acceptance testing is one of the most important steps in developing good software. It is a well known fact that many software products are released prematurely to the market, causing system failure down the road. User acceptance testing is different than other software tests because it incorporates the client into the testing cycle. The client or subject matter expert will perform predefined tests to ensure that system requirements have been met.
Although the client may be involved in other types of user testing, user acceptance testing differs in some significant ways. One important distinction is that user acceptance testing allows the user to sample the system after most, if not all, bugs have been discovered and corrected because the testing is typically performed just before the product is released. Since the software has already passed through unit testing, quality assurance testing and usability testing, fewer defects will be presented to the user. Another important aspect of user acceptance testing is that it allows clients the ability to test drive the system without focusing on each requirement separately. It allows the client to see the system as a whole from the business perspective. This is an important distinction between testing done by developers.
Software developers write code to meet specific requirements and may often overlook other areas of the business that the application will impact. The owners of the application will know their business more than the developers, which gives them the ability to discover potential problems that could occur in the future. This is important because it gives the client a last chance to see if any requirements need added or changed. User acceptance testing is crucial to help ensure major flaws are not released into production.