What Is User Acceptance Testing (UAT)? Guide & How to

What Is User Acceptance Testing (UAT)? Guide & How to

Your products are unique for you and your end-users, and you want to ensure they’re always top-notch and ready for use. But how do you make your product production-ready? What kind of testing should you conduct to reach that point?

Do you conduct user acceptance testing or deal with bugs and fixes afterward? 

It’s vital that user acceptance testing is done and done right. So let’s discuss the when, why, and how. 

In this article, we go into user acceptance testing, when it should be performed, how to prepare user acceptance testing, how to conduct it, and then answer some frequently asked questions. To conclude, we’ll show you how Environment as a Service can help and why Bunnyshell is an excellent solution. 

What Is User Acceptance Testing?

User acceptance testing (UAT), also known as end-user testing, is the final step of the software testing process. It’s a verification of whether or not the product is right for the end-user and if the software is fit for its original purpose

Developers and functional testers work together to validate the software against the functional specifications, but functional experts and business users are a big part of UAT as well. The goal of UAT is to assess if the software can support day-to-day user and business scenarios while ensuring it’s correct for business usage. Software must be completely functional from a technical standpoint and meet change requirement standards. 

Users can test the software to see if it can perform the tasks it was designed to carry out in the real world. It’s much more cost-effective to fix errors or issues during UAT than after the final product launch. 

When Should User Acceptance Testing Be Performed?

User acceptance testing is typically performed before the product goes live or the user accepts the delivery, but it also depends on the approach (which we will talk about in a bit). It’s typically done when the app is mainly feature-complete, as only cosmetic errors are accepted during testing. Things to consider before testing can begin:

  • unit, integration, and system testing should be complete
  • business requirements must be available
  • app code should be fully developed
  • UAT environment must be ready 
  • any reported defects should be tested and fixed. 

How to Prepare User Acceptance Testing

There are a series of steps to follow to prepare for UAT:

  1. Prepare formal and informal scripts for business users - use your use cases to build test scripts that will serve as training materials for users on how to use the system after deployment
  2. Use a test management tool - put your scripts in a tool and teach users how to use it
  3. Create master data for business users to use for testing - organize this data by test case so users can easily reference what data they should use for each script. Include logins, passwords, and data they must look at or consume in the tool
  4. Create a UAT user manual or guide - include where to access logins, URLs, and master data
  5. Teach business users how to write a good defect - use a defect tracking system and teach users what information to include (like steps to recreate) and, if appropriate, how to set priority values
  6. Coordinate the build schedule with your developers - ensure your dev team is aware of the testing schedule, so they don’t do a build while users try to test. Ideally, you coordinate with the entire IT team
  7. Use Environment as a Service (EaaS) - make your life easier and automate what you can, so you can avoid rework, and you’re not overwhelming your DevOps team.

How to Conduct User Acceptance Testing

UAT requires a lot of preparation and organization, so below, you’ll find steps on how to conduct testing:

Analyze product requirements and define key deliverables 

The product requirements include the business and functional requirements. The business requirements will tell you precisely what you should test and whether or not the solutions work for the users and solve the necessary problems for the business. Functional requirements take into account the business requirements, allowing you to form a testing strategy. 

Consider implicating QA engineers, business analysts, or product owners for requirement analysis. You then create technical documentation for the process (depending on your approach) to document your rules, testing strategy, test cases, standards, and others.

Choose the approach of user testing

There are two main approaches for project management - Agile and Waterfall, each with its own set of required documentation. Agile approaches are based on close collaboration with stakeholders, teamwork, flexibility, and the ability to respond to changes quickly, whereas Waterfall approaches are linear with distinct goals for each development phase. 

You may conduct UAT testing for Agile methodologies at each stage of the project to ensure validity since iterations of each development phase allow for dynamic change and flexible development until the product reaches the required functionality and quality. Testing for Waterfall occurs in the final stage of development, after the system is code and function ready, before the launch. For Waterfall, UAT completes the usability, system, and functionality tests, ensuring the product meets user acceptance criteria before production. 

Agile is the most commonly used practice, but regardless of which approach works better for you and your team, managers should pay attention to documentation quality.  

Recruit users and form the UAT team 

You may recruit users who will test your product from your existing user base. These can include customers, real-world product users, business analysts, or product owners. Your testers need not be tech-savvy or be familiar with software testing processes, but those who already use yours or a similar product are excellent candidates for UAT (to avoid QA involvement). 

Implement end-user testing tools

You want your tools to offer testing management functionality such as task overviews and reporting, with testing documentation templates. Some tools good for UAT include Usersnap, Userback, or Bugwolf, which also has gamification or competition features to engage users. 

Create the user acceptance environment and run training

Testing can be done on the user’s side, so they won’t require the hardware most of the time. The process is done online. This is where an EaaS can come in handy since you can have online training environments that can be accessed from anywhere, at any time. Testers and UAT managers are responsible for the training and should include things like:

  • ensuring users understand the test cases correctly, offering support if needed
  • training users to use any of the end-user tools
  • providing users with reporting guidelines and standards
  • giving users access to the environment.

Run the tests

Once test cases and scenarios are complete, you want your testers to test the complete product data, so avoid any sample content or dummy buttons. Keep in mind that your users are not professional testers, so don’t make them test anything that may get them stuck at a particular test case. Additionally, ensure your developers are ready to fix anything that may go wrong, whether it’s for a functional app or an interactive design.    

Collect output information and analyze it

Have your QA team analyze the data from your testers. The data comes from manually submitted user reports or a specific tool for reporting. You may also conduct additional interviews with select users to get more insights into test cases.    

Fix bugs and retest

After UAT is complete, issues and defects with all relevant comments go to the development team. They make the necessary adjustments to address the issues. Once the bugs are fixed, retest your product to ensure it’s running smoothly. When the acceptance criteria are reached and approved by reviewers, one final approval is needed for the product’s readiness for usage. 

User Acceptance Testing FAQ

People have a lot of questions, so we’ve put together a list of some frequently asked questions below: 

1. Why is user acceptance testing important?

UAT is important because it validates if all business requirements are fulfilled before releasing the software to market. One can say that it’s the most important step of the project because real users can validate if it’s fit for its purpose. 

2. Is user acceptance testing optional?

It is optional, but many businesses that do not conduct UAT end up regretting it because the cost of fixing bugs or errors after the fact is much more expensive than when fixed before. Additionally, maybe the software is complete according to its functional specifications, but some business requirements that are only known to the end-user may be miscommunicated or missed. In cases like these, testing can avoid unpleasant surprises later on. 

3. Who does user acceptance testing?

Users or customers perform UAT. That can include someone buying a product, someone custom building software through a software service provider, or an end-user. Customers can select UAT testers internally, or a team can comprise beta testers.

4. What is user acceptance testing in Agile?

To achieve the desired result in an Agile framework, UAT should be done in a Scrum environment, where working software is delivered in increments every month or more often. A valuable guideline for the UAT is a constantly reviewed product backlog that looks like this:

  • As a (user)
  • I want a (feature)
  • So I can (business benefit / reason of need).

An increment is complete only when it’s a fully tested piece of software that fulfills the customer’s needs with the features they wanted and meets all acceptance criteria. The product owner collaborates closely with the dev team to give feedback, has full responsibility for the product, and represents all stakeholders. 

5. Is user acceptance testing a verification activity?

Verification can sometimes be confused with validation. Verification tests whether or not software creation is correct, whereas validation shows us if we’re creating the correct software. Therefore, we can say that UAT is a verification activity since the software is designed correctly if the product passes the test and satisfies the user’s needs. 

6. How long does user acceptance testing take?

There isn’t a set time frame that you should be sticking to, and it differs for each product and needs of the user. However, with the right tools in place, you can streamline your UAT and reduce even up to 50% of the time and effort you previously invested in being more effective. 

7. What should user acceptance testing cover?

Some general areas a UAT plan can cover include:

  • functionality - verify that you can perform the necessary functions
  • performance - verify that the system performs as advertised and meets and exceeds your expectations and app needs
  • operational - ensure that you and your team are aware of day-to-day procedures, including power up and shut down and failed disk drive replacements
  • environmental - ensure the system is running properly from an external physical standpoint and that it’s correctly cabled to your servers and an alternate power source.

8. Can user acceptance testing be automated?

Yes, UAT can be automated and has the following benefits:

  • early defect detection and resolution
  • accelerated deployment frequency (dramatically reducing time-to-market) 
  • ensuring optimum release quality
  • enabling exhaustive testing to reduce chances of bugs infiltrating production
  • delivering cost savings for testing and test coverage.

Most teams don’t automate their UAT because they’re used to manual testing, there’s a lack of knowledge or skills to implement automation, or they’re not allocating enough resources. That’s where an EaaS can help immensely. It can automate your end-to-end tests, your complex business scenarios and help bring apps to market faster. See more benefits to using an EaaS here.   

9. Is user acceptance testing capitalizable?

UAT is considered an internal development cost, therefore, certain costs can be capitalized. The capitalizable costs include employee payroll costs, materials, and services used in development, interest costs for funding the project, training, and maintenance costs. More information can be found here

The Advantage of EaaS for User Acceptance Testing

How will you get to production now that you know everything there is to know about user acceptance testing? Even though it’s another process you have to manage, the reduction in overall costs and the higher level of customer satisfaction you receive from doing it more than offsets the extra work. 

Additionally, Bunnyshell can reduce the amount of extra work that would go into manually dealing with testing by automating your UAT with an EaaS. You can use an EaaS automation environment to benefit from higher reliability. Since you’re constantly working with large amounts of data, an EaaS solution offers reliable and secure virtual infrastructures to prevent any undesirable outcomes and allows you to focus on the resources that matter most. 

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