Conducting a successful remote User Acceptance Test (remote UAT)
During a time when organizations are switching from an on-location work environment and providing employees with flexible work options such as remote work, it has become increasingly important at ABACI to devise a plan for executing a remote User Acceptance Testing (UAT). User acceptance testing, also known as UAT, is a time for the actual users of a software or system to ensure the system meets their needs. Users execute real-world scenarios in a testing environment similar to their day to day tasks. Traditionally, this step in the software implementation process is performed in an on-site location to allow for collaboration and agile response times, but in times like this, having a plan to conduct a remote UAT has proven to be much needed. Conducting a successful UAT allows for course correction, if needed, prior to going live with the new system or software. During UAT you are also able to gauge user participation and feedback. Here at ABACI, we have derived a plan for executing a remote UAT that has proven to be a success. This plan is broken down into three parts: Before, During and After.
Prior to beginning your remote UAT, two key actions must take place to ensure a smooth process: UAT Planning and a Mock UAT Walkthrough.
During the remote UAT planning phase, the team responsible for executing UAT must agree on what will take place during UAT. Areas crucial to the planning phase include setting objectives, identifying roles & responsibilities, creating a schedule, creating and finalizing/validating testing scenarios, developing a method for tracking test cases and recording results, and ensuring that the virtual testing environment is setup and ready for remote UAT. When verifying that the virtual testing environment is ready for remote UAT, it is important to also consider each user’s remote testing environment. It is also important that the users have the correct hardware, internet connection and the ability to access the system & tools related to remote UAT.
Mock UAT Walkthrough
A Mock UAT Walkthrough consists of setting a time to run through 2-3 sample test cases per user. This allows users to ask questions and limits non-testing delays during remote UAT. The purpose of the walkthrough is to ensure that all users are prepared to execute all test cases during remote UAT with the correct access to system being tested and the knowledge to perform them. Hardware and other software being used for the online meetings and for recording testing scenarios should be tested during the walkthrough as well.
The During Phase of remote UAT consists of Moderate & Support.
During remote UAT, it is important that users are engaged and actively participating. Moderating a remote UAT through screen-shares, tracking case results live, and allowing participants to engage and collaborate with one another allows for a smooth transition from on-site to remote UAT.
Supporting users remotely during UAT is crucial to ensuring that UAT is completed smoothly whether onsite or remote. Supporting users will be dependent on the user group. Some users may need technical support, knowledge support, assistance understanding the ‘why’ behind a test case or support dealing with the change. It is important that the executor of UAT is ready to address support in all areas, whether it means break out 1-on-1 sessions, follow up sessions, or having the appropriate resource, technical or functional, available to help users trouble shoot remotely.
Now that remote UAT is complete, what are the next steps? UAT is not officially over until the users feel ready and equipped to perform their day to day tasks in the system. It is important to follow up with users and gauge feedback even when all test cases have ‘passed’ successfully.
Touching base with users and ensuring that they are comfortable with the system and the completion of remote UAT, will ensure the success of UAT and less change requests post go-live. Communicating remote UAT results, change requests, and post-UAT testing are important in the follow up process. Additionally, obtaining feedback on the system usability and adaptability allows for better go-live preparation.
Gauging feedback on the remote UAT process is a crucial step in continuously improving on your remote UAT methodology. Find out from the user group what worked and what did not work for them during the remote UAT process. Utilizing a survey tool to allow you to gather data from users is a great way to obtain feedback from users.
As technology continues to advance and remote work becomes more common, adaptability is key! UAT is no different. ABACI continues to successfully adapt to our clients, work environments, and technology to ensure we are providing best in class service. What have you found that works for you? Let us know!