User Acceptance Testing

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User acceptance testing is a validation step that ensures that the experience, in its completed form, meets the needs of target users of that experience. While User Acceptance Testing should never be the sole validation with target users, it serves an important role prior to production release.

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Related Mindset:

Experience

Lean-Agile

Segment:

Deploy

Inputs:

The integrated application which was demoed in the Systems Demo

Outputs:

Validation from the testing of the application with target users as well as potential new functionality for the experience in future releases

User Acceptance Testing plays a key role in validating with target users in the Deploy segment.

As an initial step in the Deploy segment, the application is deployed to a User Acceptance Testing (UAT) environment where it can be validated by target users of the experience. This validation will occur during a specific period of time, and target users will be given details on what specific features of the experience that the organization is looking for them to test.

Additional steps will need to be taken when relying on external target users. In these cases, the product management team will need to determine how to effectively gather a collection of users to serve as a sampling of the larger user base. In many organizations, a product focus group or voice of the customer group can serve as a UAT group.

Common Pitfalls

Many organizations that adopt UAT have implemented it in way in which it wasn’t intended.

As you look at your overall testing and validation process, watch out for these common pitfalls:

  • Letting UAT take the place of prototyping and research: While the validation that occurs in this element is important in the overall process, it occurs late in the development cycle. Because of this placement, significant changes cost an order of magnitude more than changes in the Portfolio or Program segment. Organizations should strive to understand their users at every segment of the Digital Continuum.
  • Not allowing enough time to analyze the results of UAT: While this validation occurs in the Deploy segment, organizations need to be sure that there is enough time to evaluate the results of UAT prior to the production release. This period of time should be decided upon by the product management team as a part of an overall release process.
  • Extensive defect discovery during UAT: If an organization is following the proper process, user stories have been built and tested within the development scrum team. In these cases, very few issues that are true defects should be found in the UAT process. However, while some issues may be found, organizations should not view the UAT as a QA phase. Organizations that see continual defects in the UAT phase should revisit In-Sprint QA. The UAT process should serve primarily as a validation step and potentially a point to discuss additional features with target users.
  • Manual deployment for UAT: As with all deployment steps, the creation of a UAT environment and the deployment of code should be completely automated. In this manner, this process is repeatable, predictable, and reliable.