Software validation and testing are critical when any system is designed to store, process, visualize, or manage data. This testing includes functional testing, regression testing and security testing. Integration testing is also a common method. IT staff and developers work together to identify bugs and ensure that the software meets business functional requirements. Developers may not have the necessary experience or knowledge to correctly interpret the requirements. It is unlikely that developer testing will detect situations where requirements are unclear or do not accurately capture customer needs.
UAT (user acceptance testing) is the last type of testing before the system goes live. UAT is not performed by developers. Instead, it’s done by business users who understand both the business and user requirements. UAT is also conducted in a virtual environment, which is designed to replicate the production environment. This allows users to test real-world scenarios with realistic data. UAT is not designed to discover bugs. Those that have been identified and corrected by the technical team in functional testing will be addressed. UAT aims to verify that software is compatible with the business environment in which it operates.
End users can participate in UAT because they are involved in the day to day operations of the company. This helps catch potential issues that might not have been identified in functional testing. Functional testing can be thorough, but there are business requirements that cannot be met without the involvement of end users. UAT can help clarify requirements and uncover additional requirements. Users also have the ability to see the software and find issues that weren’t tested in the development environment.
UAT’s purpose (verify that the software is working for business users before going-live) is straightforward. However, companies often have difficulty with its implementation. UAT’s location in the last stages of software development (SDLC), means there is often a lot of pressure to get the product out the door. This can lead to companies skipping UAT. UAT is often only realized by organizations after they are forced to rework their software due to software problems. This blog will address the main issues that can hinder quality UAT efforts and provide an overview of several quality UAT management software tools that can be used to optimize this crucial stage of testing.
UAT Manual Process Challenges
UAT processes must be smooth, intuitive, efficient, and consistent with the SDLC’s requirements. This will help companies resist the temptation to reduce or eliminate UAT. UAT problems are often caused by reliance on manual methods that can be tedious (e.g. spreadsheets for tracking and collaboration) which makes UAT processes inefficient. A good test management tool can help you address common UAT problems.
Poor end user engagement. UAT requires the participation of many stakeholders and end users, who often live far from each other. UAT managers often have difficulty getting these users involved in UAT activities, as they are often busy with their day jobs. Project managers often try to manage UAT processes using Excel spreadsheets or Microsoft Word. However, this creates problems for both testers and test managers as manual processes of updating and sharing spreadsheets can be slow and inefficient. End users may lack technical skills and find testing tedious and technical. It is important to motivate and engage key business users in order to optimize UAT management. It is important to find a UAT-specific application that is intuitive and easy to use.
Test documentation challenges. End users must document every step of manual UAT by copying screenshot links into a document. This method of cataloging defects for later reproduction can be frustrating and time-consuming for testers. It is also frustrating for developers who get this information and have trouble reproducing the defect. This can lead to a lot of back-and forth communication that can prove painful for everyone involved. A good test management system will instead document the end user’s test execution and ensure compliance with external and internal quality standards. It also provides record-and-play evidence that allows for easy reproduction of defects. A good testing platform will also make it easier to track defects. It will eliminate situations where multiple users report the same defect.
Test scheduling challenges. Multiple users may be involved in the UAT of a particular business process. It can be difficult to coordinate smooth and efficient testing tasks among key users that are located around the world. This could lead to delays in your UAT process. A solid test management platform can eliminate bottlenecks by allowing project and testing managers the ability to assign different steps of the UAT to multiple business processes to multiple users. Notifications allow users to run the tests in a sequential, efficient manner.
Test Management challenges. Test managers must plan and track test coverage, create defect reports, facilitate communication between testers and developers, ensure UAT is performed on the latest software versions, and make sure that defects are reported to developers. For large projects, it will be difficult to manage all of this using spreadsheets or email. Good testing applications will allow for effective management of test progress and test planning. They also provide real-time reporting and monitoring, central defect management and traceability. Software version tracking and in-sync communication are all features that can be used to track the testing progress.
UAT Management Tools Overview
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular tools that industry leaders use for UAT testing.
Atlassian Jira Software
Atlassian’s Jira software is an Agile project management and issue tracking system that is widely used in software development. Jira can be used on any platform and is compatible with all browsers and operating systems. It also allows for licensing to run either on-premise or hosted. Jira Software has configurable Kanban and Scrum boards. It can be used to capture requirements, create user stories and facilitate communication.
Although Jira Software is not specifically designed for test case management it does allow customization of native components (e.g., issue type, workflows etc.). Your test management requirements can be met by Jira Software. Jira software can also be integrated with many common frameworks and testing tools.
Zephyr is a native application for Jira that can provide high-quality test management capabilities to any Jira Software Development Project. Zephar can be used in conjunction with Jira to create and view tests. Tests can either be executed immediately or as part a linked testing cycle. Zephyr gadgets can be customized to track detailed testing metrics. The Zephar for Jira tool has the following important functionality:
- Tests can be created, viewed, modified, and executed
- Execute test executions
- Add tests to test cycles by creating a test cycle
- View testing progress via customizable metrics dashboards
- Integration with automated testing frameworks – Jenkins CI and Selenium, Appium and Cucumber in one click
- Machine learning algorithms can optimize test cases and predict defect trends to maximize automation.
Zephar allows Jira users access to test data within Jira to help them manage software releases more effectively. This allows project managers and developers to assess whether the software is ready for launch.
Zephyr’s clustered horizontal architecture allows it to scale to fit the needs of any organization. It offers a wide range of support plans that can be tailored to any team size and any location dynamic. Zephar Enterprise, a standalone solution for test management, is also available outside of the Atlassian ecosystem. It features real-time Jira integrations to help you streamline your workflows.
Rally Software(r) is an enterprise class Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform that serves as a project management and collaboration tool for Agile software development teams. This platform, which is similar to Jira, is designed for coordination work across multiple teams and programs that have large numbers of artifacts and users. Rally Software (r.) has the following key features:
- Dashboards and burndown charts provide real-time progress/status tracking
- Customizable dashboards (e.g., Scrum, Kanban, or custom views)
- Planning for release and iteration
- Planning for capacity and resources
- Management and risk identification
- KPI tracking and reporting
- Manage QA/testing activities
- A central hub that allows threaded chat, as well as a team inbox, which aggregates email feeds and tool notifications into one place, is available.
- Integrates with popular apps and tools, such as Jira
Rally offers many important features that facilitate test management. These include the ability to create test plans, custom test plan lists and test case associations, log and track defects and generate and manage test sets. You can also import or upload bulk cases to test and create mapping between them. Project managers can track all requirements throughout the development cycle with full traceability through Rally. This includes user stories, test cases and defects.
Tricentis qTest Platform
QTest, a top-of-the-line test management platform, supports the most recent processes and methodologies, such as Agile, DevOps and Behavior-Driven Development (BDD). Six tools are included in the platform:
- QTest Manager is a test case management tool that allows you track, organize and report on all activities related to testing. It has an intuitive interface with built-in workflows that can be used by teams who release software less frequently than once per week.
- qTest Explorer is a manual testing tool that tracks all interactions during a session, and creates detailed test scripts as well as defect documentation.
- qTest Scenario A Jira app that allows enterprise teams to practice scale test-driven, behavior-driven and acceptance test driven development (ATDD). It facilitates the creation of test scenarios and provides traceability to Jira issues in the future.
- qTestPulse – A sophisticated rules engine that automates tool communication in a DevOps pipeline. It also includes built-in workflows to allow teams to release software continuously (at most once per week).
- qTest Intelligence– Business intelligence and data analytics engine. It provides a central hub to customize reporting on all testing activities on the platform, with shared dashboards.
- qTest launch – A central interface for test automation that allows Agile and DevOps teams manage, schedule and kick off automated tests throughout the organization.
The qTest platform offers a flexible, scalable testing suite that can be used by organizations. It also has an enterprise architecture which is designed to address the needs of all work groups. The platform integrates seamlessly with issue trackers and development tools (e.g. Jira Software, Rally Software), as well as test automation tools.
Software projects that do not meet the user’s expectations will fail to deliver the business value they are promised. User acceptance testing is a great way to uncover missed issues and clarify requirements for software applications. UAT is crucial to ensure a successful system rollout.
Many organizations rush UAT processes or skip them entirely due to the pressure to get the software into production. Overreliance on manual processes, which can be tedious and inefficient, makes UAT difficult to manage. Reliance on legacy testing platforms, which were not designed to support modern Agile development methods and/or enable manual processes, is another factor that can lead to organizations skimming on UAT.
This blog discusses the challenges that can be incurred using manual UAT processes and highlights some popular test management tools that support modern development methods. The following are key considerations when choosing a test management software for your company:
- Both UAT and technical (e.g. functional) testing are supported
- Integrates with existing tools
- Supports all browsers and operating systems
- It is easy to use for both technical and business testers
- Offers good customer support
It is important to understand that UAT should be carried out by experts who have a deep understanding of the project and its goals. This will reduce rework costs, and increase user adoption. A good test management tool is an essential part of any UAT.
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