How is User Acceptance Testing Performed?
Software testing can be a daunting task if proper measures are not taken to conduct it correctly. Among all forms of software testing, User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is, arguably, the most important. Proper UAT helps ensure that the software being delivered to the business is ‘fit for purpose’.
UAT is a process through which an application’s suitability is confirmed by the people who will use the application. It ensures that the application is able to support all end-user tasks by validating the software against real-world scenarios. It is the final phase in the application delivery lifecycle and can be carried out in both controlled and uncontrolled environments.
As the name suggests, users who will be using the software or application are the primary group involved in the process. They are the real process owners and can provide genuine feedback. UAT should never be performed by developers.
UAT is not a trivial undertaking. In order for UAT to be effective and valuable, a good deal of planning and organisation is required.
UAT testing can be performed using well designed and scripted test scenarios or may be undertaken using an ‘exploratory’ approach, where users explore the application’s capabilities. Often a mixture of these two methods may be used.
User are provided with a detailed test plan which they must follow. Individual test cases may be described at a high level or more detailed instructions may be provided. This method delivers a structured approach to testing with known effort and goals. However, it does not provide for any testing outside of the defined test cases.
Exploratory testing enables a user to explore the application and to use their business knowledge to predict where faults in the application may be present. This method means that users are free to test the application with scenarios that may not have been considered. However, there is no defined effort or goal and it is difficult to decide when UAT has been completed.
Depending on the target audience for the software, it may be necessary to perform two phases of UAT, often referred to as Alpha and Beta testing.
In Alpha testing, a targeted group of users or user representatives conduct UAT in a development environment. Often, end-users are not used during Alpha testing, particularly where those users are external to the company and user representatives, such as Customer Care staff and Business analysts are used in their place. The goal with Alpha testing is to ensure that the application is in a suitable state to be released to a wider audience for Beta testing.
Beta testing is performed by a wider audience, often by a customer or group of customers, who express a willingness to do so. The testing environment is not controlled and users are asked to use the software extensively. Alternatively know as Field Testing, Beta testing is used to gather feedback from the real target audience.
UAT provides the ‘Go / No-Go’ decision for the software release. Acceptance decisions should be made once the final phase has been completed and the results thoroughly reviewed.
UAT is always about verifying that the core business requirements have been fulfilled and that the software is ‘fit for purpose’. It is never about buttons, tabs, colours and presentation. The ‘Go’ decision should only be made if the application will support the business needs.
User Acceptance Testing confirms that the product is ready to be used by users. It makes sure that users are able to use all features of the product in the real world environment.
Users involved in the UAT are real people who use the product and provide the genuine feedback about the product quality. Developers are not included in this test as they may have some biases since they are involved in the development of the product.
Exploratory testing process allows users to find out issues in the application with their individual approach. They freely test the product based on their own test scenarios.
Acceptance decisions are made after the completion and review of the final phase of the product testing process. The decision for the release of the product is made after it successfully meets all prescribed standards.
How is User Acceptance Testing Performed? Software testing can be a daunting task if proper measures are not taken to conduct it correctly. Among all forms of software
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