Acceptance Testing: Never a ‘formality’
User acceptance testing is normally the final stage of testing performed on a system. It is usually planned to be a formality - a final confidence building step for the users. It can however, become an exercise fraught with problems.
- In a new development, it is common for users to find serious faults in software which is assumed to have been tested and be working well - whether the system was written internally or by a third party.
- When testing a package solution, the acceptance test may be the first and last chance for users to ensure the system meets their requirements. Mismatches between the package and the business may be expensive or impossible to correct in time.
- There is little point in handing over a system for testing to users who have little time or adequate experience of testing. Without support, users will not be able to test the system adequately, and a poor or unusable system may be accepted.
Are users the best acceptance testers?
There are distinct advantages in getting users to acceptance test the systems they are expected to use:
- They are independent from the the developers of the system so are more objective
- They understand the business requirements, so can prepare tests and test data which are realistic
- They define the context in which the system will be used so can better assess it’s fitness for purpose
- They have a vested interest in ensuring that the system is of high quality so are motivated to perform rigorous tests.
Users are best placed to ensure that the testing is rigorous and covers the most important areas. However, users are rarely expert in test specification and preparation and may be unable to execute comprehensive tests effectively without support. Further, users are not usually able to provide Test Management Information to assist management to make acceptance and release decisions.
How Evolutif can help with acceptance
Evolutif promotes a Risk-Based approach to all software testing. When testing has to be planned, we help clients to organise risk workshops to allow their users and management to register their concerns over potential modes of failure of the new system. We act as facilitators for the workshop and document the analysis of the risks of most concern and the business benefits that those risks threaten. Using our Risk-Based Test Methodology, we can then help the client to transform the risks of most concern into a coherent set of test objectives which form the basis of their test plans.
As tests are prepared and later executed, they are at all times traceable to the original risk and benefits analysis. Throughout the test execution phase, the test team are able to report progress against risks addressed and those that are still outstanding in parallel with reporting the benefits that are available and those that are blocked by the risks of most concern. In this way, the test team provide the right information in a language that management understand to allow stakeholders to make the release or acceptance decision with confidence.
Let us understand your needs and put forward an appropriate offer to assist your users to plan, prepare, execute and manage acceptance testing.