When a new software or solutions release goes live, any issue that causes the development team a reputational “black eye” can cost the company even more. VMC’s Galen Erickson shared with us how User Acceptance Testing (UAT) can prevent the need for costly post-release “damage control.”
In the last blog post, I used a cup holder analogy to explain how UAT’s holistic, end-to-end workflow validation allows participants to discover issues that wouldn’t have been found through the “snapshot” nature of functional testing. Cleaning up a coffee spill costs very little. But, if a solution is released without UAT and significant issues are discovered after the fact, the costs can be devastating.
Let me give you a real world example. During UAT, a company learned that a simple data entry error could shut down its entire online marketing campaign management system. Instead of heavily-scripted test case scenarios, UAT relies on non-prescriptive guidance documents. We ask participants to use the system as they normally would. So, in this case, the solution was subjected to a broader but much more realistic range of test conditions, including data entry errors. When a user entered an extra character in a data field, it brought down the whole system. It took three days to troubleshoot and fix the underlying issue. Just imagine, though, if that shutdown had happened post-release instead of during UAT: That single data entry error would have brought a total stop to all email and online marketing activity related to lead follow-up for worldwide events, as well as all outbound efforts to secure or renew software licenses. The costs for this company, one of the world’s largest software and solutions providers, would have been astronomical.
Besides the financial impact of post-release issues like this, these kinds of problems really damage the development team’s reputation among the internal project communities. When the users lack confidence in the solution, it creates ongoing difficulties for the solutions team. It creates friction between them and the users, and it causes skepticism and lack of buy-in or adoption of subsequent releases. And, let’s face it, if you’re one of the developers, that kind of black eye sure won’t do you any favors at performance review time, either.
In software development, a black eye to your reputation can have serious consequences. In what ways could User Acceptance Testing help you safeguard everything at stake?
Email Galen Erickson at GalenEr@vmc.com or call him at 877.393.8622.