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4 Tips to Improve User Acceptance Testing

Nov 28, 2016

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User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is the final and most important phase of testing before you launch a cloud HCM implementation unless you are implementing payroll. We define UAT as testing by and for end users to find whether the functionality and usability are acceptable to them.

UAT differs from smoke tests (by the vendor), unit tests, and end-to-end tests. Instead of answering whether the software works, UAT finds out if the software works for the user, and the standards are much higher than they were even a year ago. We now expect our software to work for the end user without requiring training.

User-Centric Testing

While prior testing tells you if each of the processes performs its function, UAT asks user-centric questions.

  • Can the tester easily use the software for its intended purpose? For example, can an employee request time off without prior training?
  • Is it what they need? If the employee must add a reason for the absence, can they do it without typing when they are using a mobile device?
  • Are help and support only one click away?
  • Do they have any problems using it?
  • Is anything confusing or ambiguous?
  • Is all information they need to make a decision available on-screen or one click away?

Testing After Project Launch

During a deployment, UAT is your last chance to catch defects before you deploy them to your users. You will also use the same method for regression testing after you launch the software:

  • Testing for each module during a phased rollout.
  • A change in configuration due to business requirements, regulatory changes, eligibility rules, etc.
  • Changes to connected systems, internal or external.
  • Vendor updates and upgrades.
  • Business scope change, such as acquisition, merger, or expansion.

Four Tips for Improving Results

Now that we understand the scope and purpose of UAT, let’s turn our attention to what we need to do to make it successful.

Start Planning Early

The time to begin planning UAT is at the beginning of the project. You will ask for resources from every business unit affected by the change. Managers will need to plan how they will cover for the testers.

You will need to develop a complete list of use cases for testing, and you will also discover new scenarios during the configuration phase.

Leverage UAT to enhance change management

UAT is an opportunity to improve change management by capturing input, advice, and approval of the people who will use the software. When we roll out the methodology for a project, we encourage you to employ a good collaboration platform to communicate the plans and progress to the entire organization. Use it also to capture feedback and suggestions from everyone.

As part of the first communication effort, you can let people know the requirements and how to take part. User acceptance testers should not be part of the project team. They should be knowledgeable in the business processes.

Business social platforms enable you to integrate your project management software and test tracking software using plugins or widgets. Post the results of UAT on the social network so people can see how testers are working to satisfy their needs.

Structure Testing and Tracking

Agree on the methods and workflow for testing. Set up criteria and procedures for triage to decide whether you must correct a defect before testing can go ahead or defer it to the next round of testing.

Document every testing scenario, the results, and the user feedback. Have users sign off on their results, and, if possible, collect feedback face-to-face to capture emotional clues to the user reaction. It is best to co-locate testers away from their work environment, but if that is not possible, video conferencing can help.

Automate Repetitive Tests

Many test scenarios will be alike, and you risk familiarity and boredom affecting your results. Automate your testing where appropriate, but keep in mind automation will not test the user experience.

Recommendations

Unless you have a very experienced team, we recommend you engage a testing partner to help you through the process. Well-managed UAT will reduce your costs and the risk of show-stopping defects after launch. Take advantage of the tools at your disposal to make sure your project is trouble-free.

Pixentia is a full-service technology company dedicated to helping clients solve business problems, improve the capability of their people, and achieve better results.

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