Acceptance Testing

Acceptance testing is a type of testing that can be used to test the functionality and performance of a system. Acceptance testing is an important part of the development process. It helps to ensure what has been developed meets the needs of stakeholders.

There are many benefits associated with acceptance testing, including ensuring that the system meets requirements, identifying bugs in a system before they are deployed, improving efficiency, and reducing costs. There are many different types of acceptance testing that serve different purposes and can be used at different development stages. 

What is Acceptance Testing?

Acceptance testing is a test, designed and conducted to verify that specification requirements are met. Acceptance testing is applied in engineering to determine if a system satisfies the predefined acceptance criteria. Meeting the acceptance criteria is the critical step that precedes the development of new products, services, features, etc. In software development, for instance, test scenarios help to identify errors, implementation issues, or verify quality in a test environment before the development can start. 

There are several acceptance testing types such as user acceptance testing (UAT), field testing, operational acceptance testing (OAT), end-user testing, or acceptance test-driven development (ATDD). 

What are the Objectives of Acceptance Testing?

The purpose of acceptance testing is to determine if a product, feature, or any other system meets the determined requirements prior to its delivery. Acceptance test scenarios or acceptance tests’ major objectives are to verify that a system is compliant with the functional specifications and business requirements for delivery.

What is the Importance of Acceptance Testing?

Acceptance testing is important because it helps to reduce the number of defects in software. This is done by performing a number of tests on the software to see if it meets the requirements of the customer.

With acceptance testing, it is easier to find out if there are any bugs in the software before releasing it. It also saves time and money when fixing errors in production. 

What are the Types of Acceptance Testing?

There is a number of acceptance testing types differing by their function and methods of application. The main 6 acceptance tests are listed below.

  1. User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
  2. Business Acceptance Testing (BAT)
  3. Operational Acceptance Testing (OAT)
  4. Contract Acceptance Testing (CAT)
  5. Alpha Testing
  6. Beta Testing

1. User Acceptance Testing (UAT)

User acceptance testing represents test scenarios designed to focus and measure the functionality of a system. Real UAT examples can be real applications of a product to ensure its compliance with the business usage requirements from the end-user perspective. The tests should be developed and performed by the end-users or the general audience. In software development, they are usually done by quality assurance engineers.

2. Business Acceptance Testing (BAT)

The scope of the business acceptance testing (BAT) is assessing whether the product is aligned with the business requirements and needs. BAT tests rely on a deep understanding of customer behavior and require industry knowledge of the testing team members. The primary goals of the BAT are to reduce major reworks and cut project costs.

3. Operational Acceptance Testing (OAT)

Operational acceptance testing (OAT) focuses on both the functional and non-functional requirements of a system. These can be related to the product’s functional stability, reliability, and operational readiness. Examples of OAT can be disaster recovery, maintenance, and security procedures.

4. Regulatory/Compliance Acceptance Testing (RAT)

In regulation acceptance testing (RAT), a system is measured whether it meets legal, safety, and governmental regulations. These acceptance criteria are pre-determined and documented in a contract.

5. Alpha Testing

The scope of the alpha testing is to test the operating system prior to its delivery to the customers. The tests are performed by internal staff in a testing environment before taking it to test at the customer’s site.

6. Beta Testing/Field Testing

Beta testing, also known as field testing represents tests performed at the customers’ sites. Customers are using the product at their locations and provide feedback which is essential before releasing it to the general audience.

What are the Benefits of Acceptance Testing?

Acceptance testing brings the benefits of greater collaboration, better alignment, and fewer product defects. Here’s a list of the main benefits of functional tests.

  • Acceptance Testing encourages collaboration between developers and end-users.
  • Acceptance tests create alignment between clients’ and developers’ expectations.
  • Acceptance Testing eliminates or reduces the risks of defects emerging in production.
  • Brings a better understanding of whether the product satisfies the customer’s needs.

What is the Acceptance Testing Process?

An effective acceptance testing process includes the following 5 major steps.

1. Business Requirements Analysis. All documentation referring to specifications, business requirements, and use cases is thoroughly analyzed.

2. Design Acceptance Test Plan. The plan should include the scope of the testing, defined entry and exit criteria, detailed acceptance tests design manner, testing schedule, and other details about the agreed-upon testing procedure.

3. Design Acceptance Tests. Each acceptance test scenario should explain what has to be done and it should be written to reference a specific business requirement. 

4. Acceptance Test Bed Set Up. Refers to the configuration of the tests execution environment including any required hardware, software, operating systems, etc.

5. Acceptance Test Data Set Up. Requires the inclusion of all production data as test data. The data should be precise, exhaustive, and well-documented.

Who does Acceptance Testing?

Acceptance testing is usually performed by business customers, end-users, or testers from the company. An exception is the alpha type of acceptance testing where internal staff (not related to the project subject for testing) is asked to perform tests and provide feedback. They can be members of the client-facing departments in the organization.

What Questions should be Included in the Checklist of Acceptance Testing?

A useful acceptance testing template features the topics to be discussed while developing the actual tests. Such acceptance testing questions to be included in a checklist are listed below.

  • What are the business requirements and specifications?
  • What is the scope of the testing?
  • What testing approach will be used?
  • What are the entry and exit criteria?
  • What are the details of the testing environment configured for the tests?
  • Are all the test items and features listed?
  • What are the members to take part in the AT?
  • What are the roles and responsibilities for the testing?
  • What are the testing tools?
  • Who is the point of contact?
  • What are the business decision criteria?

What should be the Acceptance Criteria in Acceptance Testing?

Acceptance criteria are a set of requirements, user needs, or business processes that determine whether or not a system should be approved. If acceptance criteria are satisfied upon testing, a decision is made if a new product, capabilities, features, services, etc. are accepted or not. 

Well-documented and detailed acceptance tests based on acceptance criteria and use cases, enable users, customers, and other decision-makers to better assess if a product actually meets the customers’ needs. Furthermore, acceptance criteria also help to understand how well a component is built and to minimize production issues. They should be testable, clear, simple, and well-understood by everyone.

What are the Best Practices to Conduct a Successful Acceptance Testing?

Conducting acceptance testing must ensure that a system is compliant and sufficient for business usage. Below you can find the best practices for a successful acceptance testing cycle.

  1. Identify Target Users.
  2. Create Acceptance Test Plan.
  3. Develop and Document Test Cases.
  4. Set Up Testing Environment.
  5. Define Reporting Standards.

A successful acceptance testing with a properly identified target audience guarantees insightful feedback about ongoing issues and improvement opportunities of the system subject for testing. Describing the goals, scope, and details about the testing activities in a test plan streamlines the process and makes it more efficient. 

Crucial for successful acceptance testing is developing the test cases and documenting them properly. Step-by-step instructions on how to perform a test improve the testers’ focus and bring the needed clarity about the expected results. Preparing a good test environment includes providing the necessary data and access to users so they can ensure the system operates as expected. Having clear communication standards facilitates the proper and timely feedback flow about emerging errors. Such instructions also make it possible to recreate the conditions in which the malfunction appeared.

What are the Mistakes to avoid during Acceptance Testing?

The common mistakes that occur during acceptance testing are included below.

  • Highly technical details. Including too many technical details about the tests implementation may make them hard for the testing audience to comprehend.
  • Wrong testing audience. Not finding suitable testers hinders the testing itself due to their lack of interest in the system.
  • Lack of enough data. Not providing the testers with sufficient production data can render the acceptance testing unrealistic.

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