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My Interactions with Customers – Is a separate UAT phase necessary?

Posted on: 29 February '12

Thank you very much for your feedback and encouragement on my blog post series titled “My Interactions with Customers”. The customer is one of the best sources to learn from. I am just sharing that learning with you all.

In many IT organizations, it is a standard practice that the unit testing is performed by the development team and the User Acceptance Testing (UAT) by the end users of the applications. The remaining testing activities, such as System, Integration, Performance and Security Testing are executed by the Testing team. However, in most of the product development organizations, the UAT often gets replaced by the beta release and the subsequent real life beta testing.

The beta testing phase in the case of a product development organization is justified, primarily because the customer base is external and the deployment scenario is not under the control of the development and the testing teams.

For most IT organizations, a separate UAT phase looks redundant. It is expected that the testers are independent. They are expected to possess the domain knowledge; in other words an insight into the end-user’s needs. These are the expectations in addition to the need for Testing expertise and knowledge of technologies. In summary, the testing team is expected to be the Voice of Quality.

Why can’t the testing team validate the business process and certify the applications for the final release? Is adding this responsibility on the testing team long overdue? Only then, the testing team will truly become the Voice of Quality! It will save a significant amount of money for the organization and time for the end users of the applications.

Hence, the necessity for a separate UAT phase needs to be relooked at. I will be happy to know your thoughts.

  • Satya

    Hi Ananda,

    Though I agree with you that a separate UAT phase is required and can be owned by the independent testing team along with the regular SIT, Performance testing of the application there are certain practical problems to do this which if addressed over a period of time we can definetly own the end-to-end UAT phase.

    Some of the potential challenges that I foresee are:

    1. In UAT, the software is tested for compliance, organisational business
    processes and business rules, and to observe how it will behave under operational conditions. The
    emphasis switches from finding defects (which testing teams typically focuses on) to ensuring that the software is suitable for the task it is being implemented for which require considerable end to end domain expertise.

    2. Performing both SIT & UAT by same testing teams might also lead to potential Conflict of interest. UAT is the customer’s last opportunity to verify the application before live operation and if UAT is forced onto the same testing team who performed SIT testing then the Test Manager’s ability to remain objective and quality-focused is compromised.

    Thanks,
    Satya

  • Syed

    All the Testing phases before UAT generally use System requirements as the base for testing whereas they dont test the system from a Business perspective. To ensure that the system delivered is as per the Business Requirements, a dedicated team which understands both System Requirements and Business requirements should be in place to avoid failures in Business flows after the system is in Production.

    UAT is a vital phase in any kind of Testing be it Product or Application.

    Customer might initially think that having a seperate UAT phase would add on to his cost but its a sweet pain to take to avoid bigger hitches otherwise.

  • Parimal Khimsuriya

    As per my thinking Application should go live after UAT.As End user is expert in their domain and they can provide valuable feedback which helps our application to improve more in testing phase only. it will also act as approval document.