User Acceptance Testing in a Complex Global Client Environment
By Raj Badheka
User acceptance testing (UAT) is a well-recognized type of test, but it can have various degrees of important and differing approaches based on the application to be launched. However, the fundamental purpose of UAT is consistent, namely that those individuals (or their proxies) who use the application confirm the readiness of the application to be used in production.
UAT becomes complex with a large user base spread across multiple global regions (AM, EMEA, APAC) and with each region having different complex workflows and business functions. A global property management firm implements a suite of applications accessible through a portal for each of their new clients on-boarded to their property management services. In addition to global considerations when planning UAT, clients within the financial industry also have financial regulatory requirements, SOX compliance, security audit, and data encryption requirements that must be confirmed during UAT activities. Also critical is the validation of the data collected and integrated from various third party vendors.
UAT for Onboarding Clients
SPR Consulting strategically helped the property management firm build a customized and repeatable UAT approach for onboarding their new clients. Key to the success of this approach is the use of UAT test cases within a test management tool (Microsoft TFS) for each of the applications within the suite. Based on the specific property management services used by the client, the test cases are selected and modified as needed, thus reducing the time required to prepare for each UAT while ensuring the coverage of UAT activities.
Another key component of the UAT strategy is to have pre-UAT sessions with the global individuals participating in the UAT. The purpose of these pre-UAT sessions are to 1) confirm permissions to the applications (by user role and region) and TFS are in place, 2) provide training on the applications under test, and 3) provide training on how to use the test management tool for running UAT test cases and reporting defects. The pre-UAT sessions streamline the actual UAT test execution by ensuring the UAT participants have the skills and access they need to be productive during UAT execution.
UAT Help Desk
During the UAT execution activities, results are recorded in the test case management tool, thus allowing real-time metrics of the UAT progress globally, in terms of both test execution coverage and percent complete along with defect metrics. A ‘UAT help desk’ is used to provide immediate response to any questions or issues that global UAT participants encountered during their testing. UAT support personal are online and can immediately screen share with the UAT participants to answer questions about the applications or about using the test management tool. UAT support personal are available to support the various global time zones, thus making performing UAT activities as convenient as possible for the participants.
Since SPR Consulting also helps the client in coordinating the pre-UAT and UAT sessions, SPR is able to continuously improve the UAT approach based on hands-on experience with UAT activities. As a result, this UAT approach has become the standard approach used by the client due to the value it provides.