At a recent testing workshop a colleague mentioned that he encounters many technical testers running their own UAT. The irony screams by definition alone. User acceptance testing is not only about the user signing off that the business got what they need, but also as a validation that the change implemented will not affect business as usual.
In fact, in a recent article about the challenges of user acceptance testing on Software Testing Help.com the writer states, “There is no worse situation than asking functional test teams to perform UAT.” The idea of functional experts, and not business users, giving the final “OK, good to go” compounds the uncertainty that is inherent to change.
The Business User Role in UAT
Functional experts understand the business but business users, live the business. Professional testers focus on how the business functions while business users know how the business works in real life scenarios (something not always scripted). Their business knowledge helps them spot scenarios that functional experts might not catch, in turn reducing the threats of go-live risk.
However, organizations running functional test cycles, struggle to get end users involved, in turn shifting the testing to functional experts. Business users are busy with the business. They don’t have time to share their business knowledge (a key factor in regression testing), perform the tests and capture the documentation all while continuing their own daily activities.
Moreover, many times business users are asked to support UAT without a solution to support them (except for MS word and Excel, a tool too tedious and time consuming for the business user to adopt), the skill set required for testing or the time allotted for the project. In turn, many organizations claim their UAT to be an inefficient costly process with a low adoption of supportive technology.
Today with an increased priority of aligning the business with IT, user acceptance testing is gaining in importance from a business validation as well as quality assurance perspective. Consequently, IT understands the need for an adoptable solution.
The Need for Modern Test Management
Ideally UAT should be managed and executed in a modern end-to end test management solution that is easy for both technical and business testers. The business users will benefit from test notifications, collaborative communications, automated documentation, simple defect reporting, and seamless work handover, in turn allowing them to complete the UAT cycle and get back to business. This will also support technical testers who can increase testing efficiency in all functional test cycles with the captured business knowledge (e.g., used for regression testing) as well as detailed documentation (e.g, used for defect management).
Additionally, the right end-to-end test management platform will deliver test managers simple test planning, greater adoption and real-time visibility into the execution of each test cycles so that the application can be changed, tested and delivered, all with a proven 30% increase in efficiency and a zero risk go-live.