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  1. #1
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    How do you think that UAT impacts QA, if at all?

    I'm very curious what your thoughts and beliefs are on how User Accpetance Testing impacts QA Testing. By that I mean:

    -Do you think UAT decreases the need for QA
    -Do you think UAT can replace QA
    -Do you think that having UAT increases QA responsibility
    -Do you think that having UAT decreases QA responsibility

    I'm asking this as our CIO last year removed UAT (I was told it was a SOX thing, but that I don't get). That was fine with me as my team had to do a lot of work to coordinate and help with UAT in addition to the QA teting responsibilities.

    We have a 4 month contract PM who is trying to start up UAT again and keeps telling me that it reduces QA and he is now using it to REPLACE QA.

    I have some very strong feelings on this and was curious your input...

  2. #2
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    Re: How do you think that UAT impacts QA, if at all?

    Ironically, my org's current system is for IT to turn everything over to business users for testing as a sort of ersatz UAT - that's the only testing that occurs. My group is introducing a more formalized QA method. So we're actually moving in the opposite direction.

    The reason we're doing that is that buggy software hits market late. That's the consequence of UAT supplanting QA entirely.

  3. #3
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    Re: How do you think that UAT impacts QA, if at all?

    I think you need to define what you mean by UAT. UAT can mean a number of different things depending on your customer, methodology, business, whim of the day.

    UAT can vary between the users signing off a release with no testing all the way to the user spending months testing the application.

    However, having said that, in my experience with projects, I think the answer to all of your questions is “no”. I don’t think it does any of those things, it is a separate activity from QA testing with its own aims, plans, outcomes.

    If you would answer “yes” to any of the questions then, IMO, you are doing something wrong.

    Can UAT replace QA testing? Not in any shop I have been at.

    More useful questions for your project might be:

    • Is UAT useful to the project?
    • Is UAT useful to the customer?
    • Is UAT useful to the contract?

    If the answer to any of those questions is “yes”, then you should do it.

    Does UAT cost the QA test team? Usually yes, I have frequently had to liaise with the UAT team and manage test environments for them, manage software releases, manage bug reports, manage expectations, teach them how to perform UAT, help with creating plans, etc, etc.

    Personally, I have tried to get users out of the term UAT and call it User Acceptance as I want them to accept the product and testing may (should) be only a part of gaining that acceptance.

  4. #4
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    Re: How do you think that UAT impacts QA, if at all?

    Where I am, UAT increases the load (and responsibility) on QA. This is because the users expect that QA will design and build all the test scenarios and then the users will simply execute said scenarios. We are also responsible for making sure that the environment (application and data) are in place and ready for the users.

    We have pushed back, letting them know that UAT is supposed to be a user view into the application, using real world scenarios instead of the artificial scenarios and data that QA typically uses. The users will use the application differently than the QAers do. I've lost track of the number of times that we have heard "but you didn't do the process in the proper order". With UAT, we can assure that the proper order is used (assuming that actual users build the scenarios).

    Regarding the CIO's statement that he removed UAT for SOX reasons, I would definitely challenge him to explain his statement and the basis behind it. I think it is all smoke. If anything, I would think that SOX would increase the need for UAT.

  5. #5
    Moderator Joe Strazzere's Avatar
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    Re: How do you think that UAT impacts QA, if at all?

    [ QUOTE ]
    -Do you think UAT decreases the need for QA
    -Do you think UAT can replace QA
    -Do you think that having UAT increases QA responsibility
    -Do you think that having UAT decreases QA responsibility

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I guess I'd want to know a bit of context here before giving absolute answers.
    For example, is this an IT department, or a Software Company?
    What constitutes UAT in this shop?

    My company produces software.

    Some of the systems (or sometimes just the features) are developed under contract with a specific customer.

    In these cases, the outcome of UAT is a formal Acceptance, and payment.

    And in my shop, under those circumstances, the answer to all of the above questions is "No".

    We perform formal QA without regard to any UAT. (Other than the fact that we want to ensure that our internal testing covers all testing that we expect the customer to perform during their UAT).

    For us, the UAT is totally up to the customer.

    It's basically "Whatever activities the customer must do to feel confident that the contract has been fulfilled, and payment will be forthcoming."
    Joe Strazzere
    Visit my website: AllThingsQuality.com to learn more about quality, testing, and QA!

  6. #6
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    Re: How do you think that UAT impacts QA, if at all?

    My experience with UAT is similar to Perternairn's.
    The User Acceptance Testing group was a separate entity that reported directly to PMO when in house. Other times they were located on site and reported up through the customer's chain of command.

    Typically, their test scope is broader than QA. They used test scenarios to evaluate integrated systems on an environment that usually mirrored their production environment.

    UAT slightly increased the load on QA because we had to work together to find a resolution and retest if they uncovered a functional issue. Never have they decreased the load.
    C~

    Avatar courtesy of the DOW Chemical Company: http://www.dow.com/Hu/

  7. #7
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    Re: How do you think that UAT impacts QA, if at all?

    [ QUOTE ]
    [ QUOTE ]
    -Do you think UAT decreases the need for QA
    -Do you think UAT can replace QA
    -Do you think that having UAT increases QA responsibility
    -Do you think that having UAT decreases QA responsibility

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I guess I'd want to know a bit of context here before giving absolute answers.
    For example, is this an IT department, or a Software Company?


    [/ QUOTE ]

    I intentionally didn't provide a lot to see the type of discussion that occurred :-)

    This is an Insurance Company IT Department.

    [ QUOTE ]

    What constitutes UAT in this shop?


    [/ QUOTE ]

    The way it was done prior to it being removed from the process last year was QA would work with the managers of impacted units to understand the changes coming. The managers would assign resources and QA would work with them to help them test. QA had a lot of responsibility, our user community was understaffed (as are/were we). UAT signed off after QA was done. We completed QA before something went to UAT.

    [ QUOTE ]

    And in my shop, under those circumstances, the answer to all of the above questions is "No".


    [/ QUOTE ]

    That is how I look at it.


    The reason I asked the question:
    -UAT was removed from our processes last year (for whatever reason).
    -UAT took a lot of QA resources to coordinate and assist
    -QA was completed prior to UAT
    -Currently the user involvement is a review/OK of QA test plans and a "go/no-go" consensus on a Release. The user community is still involved in the testing, just not as a formal UAT process.

    The new contract project manager initially brought up bringing back UAT, which I'm neither for or against. I told him a conversation was needed before this was done as I had been told it was removed for SOX purposes, also - as the QA Manager I know the impact to my team in our organization and I wanted to work with the business customers to get the buy in on bringing UAT back.

    The PM intentionally didn't invite me (or any QA resource) to a meeting where the testing was being discussed and he is going around QA by using UAT.

    I am trying not to knock his head off (and barely succeeding).

    My issues are around my already limited staff and the fact that he has told me the following:
    -UAT decreases the need for QA and will make our job easier because it decreases our responsibility
    -UAT can be done in place of QA to get things out the door quicker
    (well that and he went behind my back after I had already said to not reinstate it without further discussion as there were issues surrounding it)

    OK - I realize this is long and convoluded.

    I was just trying to get a feel for what the opinions of others were :-)

  8. #8
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    Re: How do you think that UAT impacts QA, if at all?

    [ QUOTE ]
    I think you need to define what you mean by UAT. UAT can mean a number of different things depending on your customer, methodology, business, whim of the day.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    See my answer to Joe. I left out specifics to see the type of dialogue that would happen. I have given more detail in my response to him.

  9. #9
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    Re: How do you think that UAT impacts QA, if at all?

    [ QUOTE ]
    Regarding the CIO's statement that he removed UAT for SOX reasons, I would definitely challenge him to explain his statement and the basis behind it. I think it is all smoke. If anything, I would think that SOX would increase the need for UAT.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I would if I could, he has recently left the organization.

    We have a revised process. We have a group of users (reps from each functional area) that review and OK the test plans. QA then presents back results/issues/recommendations and QA & the User Community make a joing "Go/No-Go" decision.

  10. #10
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    Re: How do you think that UAT impacts QA, if at all?

    [ QUOTE ]
    My experience with UAT is similar to Perternairn's.
    The User Acceptance Testing group was a separate entity that reported directly to PMO when in house. Other times they were located on site and reported up through the customer's chain of command.

    Typically, their test scope is broader than QA. They used test scenarios to evaluate integrated systems on an environment that usually mirrored their production environment.

    UAT slightly increased the load on QA because we had to work together to find a resolution and retest if they uncovered a functional issue. Never have they decreased the load.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Sadly that isn't how it is here. If it were I wouldn't be as concerned with what is going on (see my response to Joe).

    UAT took a lot of QA time and effort and participation due to the maturity of the departments/management/etc. We weren't allowed to simply hand it over we had to provide a lot of detail and hand holding and coordination, etc.

 

 
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