UATCredit: Hannaford @ FlikrCredit: Hannaford @ Flikr

User acceptance testing has been on the rise in many a form of project over the past decade. Whether you're a project manager or someone looking at a career in UAT this article will give you the basic info you need.

The Definition

UAT is a phase (of many) of testing utilising users of the product. The key benefit is gaining the insight of the user to truly test a product in as close to a live environment as possible.  It is also known as functional, black-box, QA, application, confidence, final, validation, or factory acceptance testing.

The Process

The basics of a UAT phase are:

1. Create a test plan - outline the testing process and what is hoped to be achieved utilising the projects functional specification

2. Create the test scripts - step by step guides of the tests to be run usually based on the system requirements and functionailty

3.  Test and record/report defects - in its simplest form you can use excel or buy specific software such as Quality Manager

4. Re-run tests which failed - once developers have fixed defects

5. Regression testing - final run through of the system to ensure ready to go live


The Benefits

UAT has many benefits but central to them all is the fact that the testing is done by the users. This gives insight which cannot be given by developers. Secondary you take the system from the developer’s hands which prevents developer missing mistakes which they will not see through "developer blindness". Finally when you see the project being tested in an environment similar to live and in a very structure and recorded method you should have full confidence in your products ability to go live.

As a brief introduction you should now have the basics of UAT. This should by no means be used as a full guide to UAT as the full process is far deeper and takes training to become proficient.