Finding the Acceptance in User Acceptance Testing
What is the most important word in “user acceptance testing?” Is it user, the individual whose role it is to ensure that the software can stand up to day to day processes and actions? Is it testing, the actual clicks the user is taking to push the software into easily understood actions and results? Or is it acceptance, the comfort that the user will have once the testing is done? The comfort that yes, this software is going to improve my life, my coworkers’ lives, my organization’s business. That this software, this investment that we made, is increasing efficiency and providing business lift.
The Goal of UAT
Acceptance is the goal of UAT. Users must drive the system through real-world examples and stress-testing scenarios. Users must go through the bumps, bruises, and hiccups of learning a new system, and considering how that system will affect others throughout the organization. These users, this testing, is always aiming at the end goal of acceptance: accepting that this is the right system, and the right decision was made. The users within the UAT group will be the organization’s cheerleaders going forward.
Defining Success for UAT
We are often asked what makes a “successful” user acceptance testing phase—is it a UAT with fast results, high-level testing plans, and few issues reported? Or is it UAT with timely responses, a robust testing plan, and many issues/questions reported? If an organization’s assigned UAT group isn’t reporting issues and is mostly quiet…it’s an easy assumption that they aren’t testing. And if they aren’t testing, they aren’t going to accept the system. Organizations with engaged testers report issues, ask questions, request time with experts. These are the organizations who feel confident that they are embarking on a successful rollout of a new software system, and feel confident introducing this software to their wider organization.
Testing leads to familiarity, and familiarity leads to comfort, and comfort to acceptance. Achieving this comfort and confidence can be rocky, but getting through the rockiness with your trusted group of dedicated testers will ensure that your wide user base avoids hitting those same rocks and wondering the same questions—those paths have been smoothed out and the answers are at the ready. The most important word in a software rollout is acceptance—the ease and comfort of welcoming a thoroughly vetted and tested end product.
Posted on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 8:45 AM
by Susannah Hallgarth
As Director of Education Services and UAT at Baker Hill, Susannah Hallgarth is responsible for leading the external software training curriculum across the company’s various product lines, as well as facilitating the User Acceptance Testing side of product implementation. Hallgarth also serves as Baker Hill’s education lead and mentor to new hires.
With nearly 19 years of experience, Hallgarth has spent time perfecting her skills within Client Services' product implementation. Her background is primarily within software training, leading various certification courses and guiding others both inside and beyond the company. She has extensive knowledge of education services, technical documentation, and software as a service implementation.
In her time with Baker Hill, Hallgarth has worked her way through the ranks, starting as a technical writer before moving into software training and implementation; she has had a promotion path from associate, senior, lead, manager, to director of her current departments.
Hallgarth earned her bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Franklin College.