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The Software Testing Process: What is User Acceptance Testing – UAT?

The Software Testing Process: What is User Acceptance Testing - UAT?

This video is for non-technical Project Managers who want a general appreciation of the cycle of software testing, which culminates in User Acceptance Testing. I also look at alpha testing and beta testing.

This video is safe for viewing in the workplace.

This is learning, so, sit back and enjoy

UAT in Context: The Levels of Software Testing

There are very many types of software testing. And different projects, engineers, and test managers will adopt different processes to meet their specific circumstances. Also, I am not a software engineer, so I don’t have expertise in this area.

So, this video is exclusively for non-technical Project Managers who want a general appreciation of the cycle of software testing, which culminates in User Acceptance Testing.

The Four Main Levels of Software Testing

  1. Component or Unit testing
    Testing each individual component that you create
  2. Integration Testing
    Testing how well components work together with each other and existing components, in their logical groupings or chains
  3. System Testing
    Testing the whole system with the old and new components fully integrated.
  4. User Acceptance Testing
    The final tests that ensure users are content that the product works exactly the way they need it to.

User Acceptance Testing

The problem with testing by experts, is that they tend to know how a product, or a piece of software, is supposed to work. So, they need to work hard to do stupid things.

Users, on the other hand, will do whatever seems to them to make sense. And that may not be what the product or software was built to accommodate. Users are great at doing what the developers might consider to be stupid things. They will be far more likely to shake out the last faults in the system!

The Purpose of User Acceptance Testing

The main purpose of User Acceptance Testing is to validate the software against the business requirements. And it is the end-users who are familiar with the business requirements. UAT is the last chance for the customer to test the software and determine whether it is fit for the purpose.

User Acceptance Testing (UAT), or end-user testing, is testing by the user or client to determine whether a fully-functioning product can be accepted or not. It is the final testing performed once the component, integration, and system testing are completed. It is the last obstacle to approval for go-live.

Typical Steps in a User Acceptance Test

  1. Analysis of business requirements
  2. Creation of UAT test plan
  3. Identify test scenarios
  4. Create UAT test cases
  5. Prepare Test Data that mimics production data 
  6. Run the User Acceptance Tests and record the results
  7. Confirm compliance with business requirements

How does User Acceptance Testing differ from Alpha and Beta Testing?

Alpha and Beta testing mainly focus on finding the last bugs in a tested and working product. They do so in a real user environment, to give the development team experience of how their product will be used.

Alpha Testing

Alpha testing is a form of internal acceptance testing. It can be either a final stage of System testing or a first stage of User testing. In the first case, it is performed mainly by the software Quality Assurance or testing teams. However, it can also be done by users or customers of the application. But, typically, reporting of errors is kept within the testing and development teams.

Beta Testing

Beta Testing follows Alpha testing. It is user testing and is the final testing phase before user acceptance. For a Beta test, you will release the software to a few users outside the project’s test teams or developers. So, beta testing is carried out by real users in a real environment.

UAT, Alpha, and Beta Testing

The difference between a Beta Test and a User Acceptance Test is that Beta tests inform the development team of last problems to solve and bugs to fix. A UAT creates the acceptance needed to proceed with implementation.

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About the Author Mike Clayton

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.

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