The caffeine in a morning cup of coffee can provide a much-needed and desirable jolt; but the jolt of hot coffee landing in your lap during a drive to work is a different kind of jolt altogether – and one to be avoided. VMC’s Galen Erickson explains how User Acceptance Testing (UAT) can help provide users with software performance they expect while avoiding undesirable jolts to performance.
User Acceptance Testing (UAT) involves participants who represent a variety of roles for a solution or software, which is why we call it “role based” validation. But, UAT is different from functional testing in another critical way also. UAT tests the solution throughout end-to-end workflow. In other words, with UAT, we’re not just looking at a “snapshot” of whether a particular chunk of code works as it should. We’re taking a holistic look at whether throughout the users’ work requirements, the software lets them work as they should. Workflow validation can enable discovery of potential issues between steps, between departments or between systems that wouldn’t be discovered in more isolated functional test cases. And, we discover these kinds of issues before the software is released.
Back to my car analogy, with a very simple comparison, think about the car’s cup holder. The factory inspector would only check to see if a cup holder has been installed and maybe whether a cup fits in it while the car sits there at the end of the production line.
In an end-to-end workflow scenario, though, our family’s dad – one of the roles – may want to drink his coffee throughout his hour-long commute. His “workflow” factors in all the varying conditions, from sitting in his driveway to changing speeds en route to putting the car in park at the office. Well, maybe his favorite coffee cup is tall and skinny, so the cup holder doesn’t grip it securely. If a rush-hour traffic jam requires him to slam on his brakes, he could end up with that cup of scalding coffee in his lap instead of the cup holder.
If the UAT included having the dad try out the cup holder throughout his entire commute, it would have failed UAT and allowed the development team to fix the issue before release.
Users don’t like being unexpectedly burned by new releases with issues that dampen productivity or performance. How do you ensure your solution offers enhancements every step of the way?
Contact Galen Erickson at GalenEr@vmc.com or call him at 877.393.8622.