In sports such as football, baseball, and rugby, a utility player is someone who can play multiple positions well. One notable example is former Major League Baseball player Tony Phillips who, in 1991 with the Detroit Tigers, was the first player to start at least 10 games in five different positions. VMC Solution Deliver Manager Damian Gibbs says that the team conducting User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is stronger when its members are made of utility players.
Good UAT teams consistently refine their processes in order to deliver a product that saves their clients time and resources. For UAT, clients often bring in a couple people who can do work on the UAT end and one person to manage UAT, but this set-up lacks variety and skillset that a more well-rounded team brings.
The ideal UAT team has at least a technical writer, a systems analyst, and a project manager; sometimes there is also a coordinator in the mix. Though they may not always stay in their defined roles, everyone has their strengths. The technical writer generally creates the guidance docs; the systems expert knows the software extremely well and generally helps develop the scenarios and foresee potential issues within the system. The coordinator is generally the facilitator who manages details. And the project manager tends to be the glue that keeps his or her eye on the overall goals of a project and pushes the team toward the goal.
Our team, in particular, focuses on bringing diverse skillsets and capitalizing on the skillsets in projects. All of our team members have presentation skills. We all write well, and while most of us are not technical writers, per se – any of us can jump in in a pinch. Similarly, our technical writer has a solid understanding of software systems and how they work and she writes great guidance documents due to that.
Consistent results in UAT are what teams should strive for, as they’re integral to gaining tribal and systems knowledge. This kind of functional team is able to take on more projects without sacrificing quality. What steps have you taken to ensure that the members of your UAT team are jacks of all trades?