How to Successfully Manage the User Acceptance Testing (UAT) Phase

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is a phase of software development in which the software is tested by the users to verify that it works. This test group will identify “bugs” and share their feedback with the development team who will then make the final changes.

UAT testing can appear to be a daunting task at first, especially for large projects. Too often, we see companies gloss over this step because they want to meet certain deadlines, they don’t have the staff to support it, or they simply lack the patience. This could lead to expensive mistakes down the line that come with residual impact.

When making your investment in a new software solution, correcting issues prior to the software’s release can significantly reduce both time and cost, while increasing customer satisfaction and ensuring a higher user adoption rate in the long run.

Steps to a Successful User Acceptance Testing

BDO Digital has helped thousands of companies make testing a useful and valuable process. Here are some of the best practices we use to make the UAT testing process a success.

Prepare for Testing

While UAT will always be a high-effort activity, good preparation is key to significantly improving the likelihood of a successful outcome.

  • Identify Resources: Before you begin testing, make sure you’ve identified your resources. Select a small group of “real-world” end-users who will be utilizing the solution on a daily basis.
  • Create a Schedule: Once you’ve identified your test group, organize your deployment schedule to works with both the development team and the UAT testers. Define a timeline to ensure resources are available.
  • Establish a Process: Make sure that your UAT group has a documented, standardized process for communicating feedback. Equally important, make sure your development team is on the same page for how to track updates and document resolutions.

Standardize Your Process

Once you’re ready to begin testing, a standardized process will help simplify the ordeal and add to the ease of your UAT execution.

  • Clearly Communicate Next Steps: With each release, it’s important to develop standardized release notes with a structured testing agenda and document the required actions for each testing event.
  • Organize Feedback: Consolidate stories or epics into a consumable and manageable format.
  • Track Progress: Document status reports to track testing progress.
  • Receive Sign-Off: Document all modules that have been approved and develop reporting metrics to track these approvals.

Focus on the Users

User Acceptance Testing is all about the user. Remaining focused on the user’s experience throughout the process is critical because they are, after all, the people that will be using the software on a daily basis.

  • Keep the End Goal in Mind: One of the goals of UAT is to ensure that the users are able to become comfortable with the new system/product, but keep in mind that change is hard. While a new software solution might present new challenges to the end-users at first, the main goal is that it will resolve bigger problem for the users and the organization as a whole in the long run.
  • Understand Company Culture: The solution you build needs to be as unique as your business. By understanding the company culture, work preferences, and nuances, you’re in a better position to design a solution that fits the needs of the users.
  • Keep Communication Channels Open: Make sure a clear communication channel is implemented to help resolve issues. UAT is a team effort and requires all team members to be aware of the bugs that could be found during the UAT phase.

As organizations continue to adopt agile practices for delivering software solutions, business users are getting more involved. This is the best way to determine if your product will actually deliver on the expected outcome when put in front of the larger user base.