I have heard a lot of horror stories about user acceptance tests going totally wrong, and I always asked myself: “What are these guys doing wrong?”
Having coordinated dozens of intense UATs myself which, above and all, went very smoothly, it is hard for me to understand how tests could fail at this massive level.
But after having talked to a few people, asking them about their approach, I can see the problem:
Lack of preparation.
My team and I, we always invested an incredible amount of effort into the planning and preparation of our end user tests because they are fundamentally different from purely technical, IT-driven tests.
One key part of the preparation was to get the functional users on board as early as possible and let them design the test cases (here is the test case template we use).
The other factor for making UATs a success is communication: The better users understand how they are expected to contribute and how to communicate with the developers and other IT experts, the better the test will go. Simple.
How do you communicate your process and expectations with end users? With a proper UAT kick off meeting, not just through email.
This is what my UAT kick off invitations generally look like:
My User Acceptance Test Kick-Off Email [Feel Free to Copy]
As communicated to you already at the launch of the CRM Project, we are going to have two testing phases that require your involvement. One of the tests is the so-called user acceptance testing (UAT) which is coming up soon.
User acceptance testing (UAT) is scheduled to take place from Monday 11/16/2021 to Friday 11/30/2021 (Please block your calendar if you haven’t already done so).
What is the purpose of a UAT? With your help, we are going to test all our business processes and make sure things are running smoothly on the new CRM platform. In particular, we are going to test master data maintenance and order entry functionality.
With this email we’d like to invite you to the UAT kick off meeting on 16-November 2021 at 10:00 AM EST. During the meeting, we will provide you with an overview of the test procedures, the tools for test documentation and the general way of how we’ll be communicating and collaborating during this critical phase.
We are looking forward to seeing you on November 16! Please make sure to attend this important meeting.
As you can see, it’s very simple.
The kickoff email is just to tell people: “Hey, there’s this important meeting coming up”
I’m not going to overload people with a lot of details or attachments that will either confuse them or that they won’t look at anyway. That’s why I also don’t add the UAT Kickoff PowerPoint (PPT) to the email (only 2% of people will look at the attachment).
There are certainly things you can add or improve regarding this email, but it does its job.
As I said, our end-user tests were always very smooth and effective — and we always managed to complete 100% of test cases on time.
Good luck with your tests! If you have any questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org