Specifying, choosing and implementing computer systems

 Stage 8 - Carry out user acceptance testing

At this stage, the detailed procedures manual should be complete for a purchased or in-house system, except for any amendments resulting from testing and training.

UAT is the equivalent of a dress rehearsal in the theatre. It is not the opportunity to discover that Romeo hasn’t learnt his lines; the nurse’s costume doesn’t fit and the balcony wobbles alarmingly when Juliet steps onto it.

An in-house developed system should have been subject to internal testing (alpha testing) to ensure all problems have been resolved. Users should not be presented with software containing known ‘bugs’ as it will just undermine their confidence in the system.

User acceptance testing (UAT) requires:

 A technical infrastructure which has been tested.

 Example data covering all situations (scenarios) which will be encountered.

 Evaluation of all the risks which could occur during input (that is incomplete or inaccurate data). These situations should have been anticipated during the documentation of input for the manual.

 The relevant section of the manual, copied into a spreadsheet (8 UAT)

 Prediction of the output.

 Input of example data.

 Written amendment of the manual where it is incorrect or unclear.

 Checking of the predicted output against actual output.

 Documentation of all the above.

 Formal approval by the responsible user for the process involved.

UAT is based on the input forms in the manual, copied into a spreadsheet where full details of the test and results can be recorded (SS 8 - UAT). Exceptions found are noted on the PIR database (SS 2-3 PIR).

Whenever a program is amended, user acceptance testing should be repeated for all processes which could be affected by the amendment. (That’s why late amendments should be avoided – the UAT can take more time than the amendment).

The manual should be amended as a result of comments from testers.

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