In this article, we will take a closer look into what exactly UAT is, and how to conduct a proper test plan for your software.
If you are planning on launching new software, then going through with proper User Acceptance Testing, otherwise known as UAT, is essential to its success. Performing UAT provides testers with a real-life understanding of how the software works and performs in actual user conditions.
UAT testing may seem simple, but it involves many different moving parts. Performing a UAT procedure properly will require the testers to understand the kind of conditions they are looking to monitor, test, and control. This is where a solid UAT test plan is necessary.
What Is UAT?
UAT is a type of final stage software testing that developers use to make sure that their product is ready for the market. UAT involves the client, or end-user, trying out the developed software to see how it performs under realistic conditions. While UAT is a test process, it is also an actual first run of the software before it gets released.
UAT is not about finding details such as spelling mistakes or cosmetic errors. The real purpose of this process is to validate the end to end flow and experience of the software. It is about seeing whether the product can do exactly what it is intended to.
Software developers may be very good at what they do, but they don’t have the specialist product knowledge of the client. This is why UAT is done by the client or end-user. Developers could tick off all the boxes on a technical level, but it is the experience of how the software performs that matters.
UAT is the point where the client accepts the product and its design standards. This means that it is only done after all functional/system testing has been completed. This makes UAT an essential part of any software release.
Creating The UAT Test Plan
To release software safely, and without any flaws, the UAT process needs to be rock solid. This is where creating an effective test plan is critical. The test plan will help to make the testing process as efficient and valuable as possible. A good plan will also optimize the entire process and outcome of the test.
As each different UAT test can differ significantly, it’s important to have certain strategies set up in advance. Here are some things to put into place when creating the test plan that will help with the process.
1. Create Certain Signed Off Requirements
The general goal of UAT is to make sure that all of the client’s requirements of the product are met. As they are paying to get the software developed, they will need to make sure that the software checks all of their boxes. If there are specific, signed off or approved requirements as a part of the test plan, it will help to make sure that all of the client’s requirements are met. This will then help to create an effective UAT strategy.
Now, this may sound a little odd for anyone working on Agile projects. However, Agile projects should still run UAT test plans to make sure that any bugs or surprises in the software are caught. Even on these projects, there should be a set of signed off requirements into place. One way to do this is for the product owner to give their acceptance criteria or specific requirements for the project beforehand.
Doing this will help to ensure that all necessary areas of the software have been met. This makes end-user approval far easier to track.
2. Reviewing The Test Scenario By The User
While end-users, or product owners, should be the ones completing the UAT testing, this is not always the case. They will usually get some kind of UAT testers to complete the task for them.
While this can be effective, UAT testers are still not the client – so they don’t understand the kind of software needed as well as the actual end-user does. There are many different aspects to specific business software, and testers can’t always grasp every element of the business needs and environment.
To include testers into the UAT plan effectively, exact boundaries regarding what to test should be defined. Ultimately, the user needs to validate the testing scope and review the test scenario.
The sign off requirements mentioned earlier should come from the client or user. They should also review these during the UAT test plan. Specialist testers should work within limited, specified boundaries.
3. Make Sure That All Code is Delivered On Time
No matter what kind of project the team is working on, having all the code delivered on time is essential. Before the UAT testers begin their process, developers need to make sure that all code passes the unit testing and is free from functional defects. This can be a major challenge for any project, but it will make all the difference during the testing phase.
The testing team can then work with stable code, which makes the process a whole lot easier. This will be a step that the development team will need to step in on, and it is something that will need to be strongly pushed. Including firm delivery dates into the UAT test plan is always a good idea.
4. Use the Right Tools
Tooling is one of the most effective ways of making the test plan run a whole lot smoother. Having the proper repository for the plan will help to save hundreds of hours of work.
Good tooling will not only streamline the process, but it will help to make the results better. There are many kinds of repositories to choose from to add to a test plan. Make sure to find tooling that can be integrated into UAT, and then utilize it correctly.
5. Set the Criteria
An important part of this process is to set rigid entry and exit criteria. This is similar to the point above about getting all the code delivered correctly on time. Everyone on the project will need to understand exactly what the minimum criteria will be when the project is handed over for testing, and what will need doing through the testing stage.
When setting up the UAT test plan, make sure that all the project’s basic requirements get signed off as the entry criteria. Then set the exact test scenarios and cases that will need to be reviewed throughout the UAT stage. This will make the results more efficient, as well as help to define the exact path for testing.
6. Document Everything Properly
This one may seem obvious, but it is something that often gets left behind. When going through a UAT test plan, properly documenting the entire process is essential. Without effective documentation of the process, doing any kind of User Acceptance Test is pointless.
By tracking any errors, challenges, or failures, developers can make use of the test analysis. Analyzing the documentation of the tests allows them to keep track of the progress made and help to identify areas that still need work.
Important Considerations For A UAT Test Plan
No matter what kind of project you are undertaking, proper testing is the first road to success. To test as well as possible, the UAT test plan must be solid. Here are a couple of considerations to think about before structuring the actual tests.
Who is involved in the testing phase? The project phase will involve certain employees and project members, while the testing phase will involve different people. This could be specialist testers, the client or the actual end-user. Make sure that each person in the process is clued up on the UAT test plan, goals, and criteria.
Division of tasks – Always includes who is responsible for what in the UAT test plan. For example, who is in charge of development, strategic planning, logistics, etc. Having this planned out is essential.
Understand the criteria before testing begins – This was mentioned above, but it is very important and worth emphasizing again. Testing cannot be undertaken without establishing clear criteria first.
Put the user first – The end-user is the most important person to consider when developing software. They should be included from an early stage, and always focused on. When rolling out the test plan, make sure that the actual user is involved and highlighted. This is the only way to achieve the most accurate feedback.
When developing software, going through User Acceptance Testing is an invaluable part of the process. To do this efficiently, there needs to be a proper test plan in place. There are many different factors to consider during this process, and they will all need to be handled smoothly to yield the best results.
Testing is a part of the process that should never be overlooked, and it is a step that deserves just as much attention as initial development.
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