User Acceptance Test (UAT) – what is this and why do you need it in your project?

UATs (User Acceptance Tests) are acceptance tests which allow the created software or a piece of it to be picked up by those responsible for business processes or the end customer. They make it easy to determine whether a screen or functionality meets the specifications of all software consumers.

Purpose of UAT

UAT’s are tests performed in the final phase of a product. So let us ask ourselves for what purpose are they performed? As the name suggests, we perform them in order to verify the expectations of the user, who will become the final recipient of our product. To put it another way, UAT consists of testing the product that is to be released for production to the final recipients. 

In which environment should such a test be carried out? The answer is basically simple! Typically, such tests are carried out in a simulated environment that mirrors the product 1:1.

What exactly is tested in such an environment? The main idea is that the system should conform to the specification, that the changes made should not damage other/primary functionality that extends it, and that it should ultimately meet the expectations of future users. 

A good test. So what should it contain?

OK, but what goes into such tests? A basic set should include the following things and processes:

  • Business processes
  • User and business requirements
  • Regulations, contracts, norms and standards
  • Use cases or user stories
  • Installation procedures
  • Risk analysis reports and much more

What do business processes consist of? They consist of using various methods to detect, model, analyse, measure, improve and optimise business strategies and processes.

Requirements are nothing more than, a condition or capability that a system or system component must meet or possess, meeting a contract, standard, specification or other formally imposed documents.

Use cases are the interaction of the system with the user and the service provided to the user. Use case diagrams (lists) can represent the scope of the system – a set of functions that meet the user’s needs.

User stories are short sentences about who, what and for what purpose performs a certain action. They can replace requirements or use case descriptions in the name of saving time, at the expense of accuracy (e.g. no description of exceptions). Benchmark: As a <who? – user>, I want <what? – activity> to <achieve what? – goal>.

Installation procedures are a whole process with described instructions on how such an installation should take place.

Risk Analysis Reports and more, as the name suggests, is a technique to reduce the effort put into verifying the performance of the software by prioritising tasks based on the risk those tasks carry (the greater the business impact and the greater the risk of a problem, the higher on the to-do list it should be). 

Benefits of UAT

You are probably wondering what is it that UATs bring. Let’s start with the benefits themselves for future users, as such an application will, among other things, be ready to meet their needs. Another advantage that can be mentioned is at the product stage itself. The product itself develops and the production costs are reduced. Why are production costs reduced? When a customer reports a defect or a feature that could be done differently according to their suggestion, we still have time to make this correction or plan for the next release before the product goes into production.

Summary

In summary, UAT plays a key role when it comes to ensuring the highest possible product quality. As I mentioned earlier, we as people are the end users who will be using the product. So our opinion plays a key role and has a huge impact on product development.

In addition, all the requirements made to us will be verified before the product is released and finally approved. Then such a system can finally go into production. 

User Acceptance Tests are an indispensable part of the software development lifecycle. I encourage you to introduce UAT into the development process and I guarantee that you will get a good response from your present and future customers.

Wojciech Błądek

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