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UAT in Agile Practices

Software testing and quality assurance (QA), are part of every software development cycle, even for agile teams.

But, having developers perform testing at the end a sprint is not the same thing as user acceptance testing (UAT). It’s not easy to find UAT references in formal agile documentation. However, it can be dangerous to fail to include this form of quality control.

How can you balance the UAT benefits with the efficiencies and agility of agile?

Benefits of planning UAT as part of Sprints

The Agile Manifesto provides a comprehensive guide for sprint-based software development. It emphasizes the importance of putting customers first from the beginning to the end. The manifesto says it all: “Our highest priority, in fact, is to satisfy our customer through timely and continuous delivery (of valuable software).”

This definition aligns with UAT’s foundational purpose, which “verifies that a product/software is fit for its intended purpose.”

Other benefits can be gained by taking the time to use UAT and verify software at every stage of its development. UAT can be used to:

  • Encourage collaboration between developers and customers to build a product that is complete and meets all requirements.
  • A new perspective as a tester can increase the potential for defects to be discovered.
  • Your team can benefit from agile without interrupting the development process.

Find out if user acceptance testing is necessary for your current or future project.

Integration of UAT in an Agile Workflow: Challenges

While there are many benefits to UAT in any development approach there are still challenges that teams must overcome.

It can be challenging to perform UAT.

  • You need to find the right level of communication and coordination with UAT testers. This will not slow down the agile process.
  • For testing, create detailed user stories that reflect the end-user’s needs.
  • Find the right environment and time to perform UAT during agile sprints.
  • Find an intuitive way to track acceptance and how defects are integrated into the next sprints.
  • Reduce the administrative burden for Scrum Masters and QA professionals when setting up and managing tests.

What are some Agile UAT Best Practices

Agile development is well-known for its focus and speed in design and development. However, it also has a strong structure that brings together teams. Each sprint typically includes setting a goal and scoping the work through user stories. Finally, confirming the velocity of the work and the capacity are some other steps.

This structure can be used by teams to test their software, including UAT. It allows for testing to occur early in development and often throughout. UAT is a form of quality assurance that involves end users. This can make it more difficult to balance agile with UAT.

These agile UAT best practices can be used to help teams overcome these challenges and make this easier.

  • Before you start the project, establish expectations about weaving UAT into sprints. This includes the purpose, timeline and benefits of agile UAT.
  • Find UAT testers who represent each stakeholder group. They can help with product evaluation during the entire development lifecycle.
  • Use a test management system to create, record, and communicate with testers.
  • User-focused stories should be woven into agile development sprints. They will be updated as the software develops.

Accelerate Your Agile UAT Process

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been a software developer, QA professional or both, it is difficult to compare the rewards and challenges of creating a product that users love.

Software development tools have improved over time, which is a good thing. Developers have more tools to help them minimize the risks and difficulties that arise from their work. Test management platforms such as TestMonitor are some of the most powerful and versatile. They help teams create software that’s as stable, secure, and bug-free, as possible.