Practical tips for conducting User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
The User Acceptance Testing (UAT) process is a crucial stage in the design and creation of websites, verifying user expectations against design assumptions. Below are several key elements that should accompany this process.
UAT tests are primarily conducted by actual users of the product. They focus on the end-user, aiming to test the technical aspects of the product. The goal is to ensure that the product indeed functions and aligns with business requirements.
The group of testers can be selected from various sources, including internal testers, actual users of the deployed product or its previous version, business analysts, consultants, or external specialized firms. They can be divided into groups, some responsible for alpha testing, which are initial tests focused on meeting business assumptions, and others for beta testing, where the focus is on the proper functioning of the product. This way, the team gains knowledge about the entire scope of the product’s functionality. They receive not only a list of reported errors and issues but also solutions that weren’t discussed in the initial design stages. It’s possible that end-users testing the product might identify improvements in the tested software, which is incredibly important from a business perspective. This contributes to financial benefits, such as further development and support of the product. Additionally, it presents new challenges to the programming team. The product won’t just be maintained at a certain level but will also be developed further, potentially boosting team morale.
UAT requires organizational and preparatory work to be effective. It’s worth systematizing and defining it in a few concise points:
Avoid wasting time by setting clear goals and expectations for the UAT team. Specify what exactly needs to be tested. Introduce demonstration meetings of functioning solutions to determine early on whether they solve business problems. Explain what to focus on during testing. This is crucial because the product has already been internally tested in earlier stages, so duplicating tests isn’t worthwhile.
Prepare a test plan and test scenarios for users to refer to during testing. Scenarios should be based on real-use cases and encompass the business requirements mentioned in point 1. The UAT test plan will help keep everyone aligned with the same objectives and vision. Being the main document, it contains all the information about what will be tested, by whom, and how, as well as entry/exit criteria.
Provide entry criteria. These are conditions that determine when the product is ready for testing. Additionally, prepare a programming team capable of fixing reported issues or providing reliable time estimates for their resolution. It’s important for them to ensure the stability of the tested system throughout the UAT period.
Ensure clear and easily understandable descriptions of the tests. Avoid complicated phrasing or overly technical descriptions.
Provide a feedback tool that can be categorized into errors and improvements. Remember to assign priorities that will be clearly reflected in the test plan.
Fix errors and retest. This process should be clearly indicated based on the incoming UAT reports. Each report should be commented on or integrated into the issue management system. After fixing errors, retest them to ensure everything is working correctly. After meeting acceptance criteria and approval from reviewers, the final acceptance decision for product readiness for production can be made.
At each of the above points, shortcomings may arise. Their source is likely a lack of sufficient time or business pressure to release the product. In such cases, increasing the number of meetings and focusing on intensified communication within the teams is advisable.