Putting their heads together, Marie and Pierre Curie made breakthrough discoveries about radiation. Benjamin Franklin traded ideas and knowledge in a circle of friends he called the “Junto,” which even inspired his founding of the first subscription library in America. Throughout history, people have relied on friends and family members as confidants and advisors. VMC expert Galen Erickson says that User Acceptance Testing (UAT) also benefits from the wise words of a select few.
Often, UAT participants are very busy people, and we don’t want to bog them down with a big change in a solution or tool that we predict may have a significant number of issues. In these cases, what we do is an “unofficial” UAT before the actual UAT. We go to key people and present the new change to them to get quick and precise preliminary analyses. We call this our “friends and family UAT,” where we work with users in a casual, less official capacity – people the UAT team has good rapport with. Based on their feedback, the development team can put tweaks in place before putting the solution in front of the broader group of UAT participants. By implementing friends and family UAT, we strategically increase efficiency.
Also, UAT participants can sometimes be reluctant to speak honestly because the situation surrounding a solution or tool may be a little politically charged. Friends and family participants are also useful in these instances. Because of the relationship we′ve built with them, we can hold casual discussions that allay any concerns of scrutiny or criticism. From these more personal, “off the record” types of conversations, we often glean information that′s very useful for the UAT.
As time to conduct UAT is limited, it’s important to be deliberate in choosing and communicating with participants. How could you enlist the wisdom of “friends and family” to improve your UAT initiatives?