Re: UAT Test Scripts

Subject: Re: UAT Test Scripts
From: Beth Agnew <beth -dot- agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2006 20:25:54 -0500

The great thing about having no templates to work from is that you are free to design a document that works for the audience. Often, that fresh look results in a better, more usable document. The research you've done about the users should give you an idea of what they'd be looking for in a test script. In your case, it sounds like it's actual users, not just representative users or SMEs. If you were going to test the product yourself, what would you want to see in the script? This is your opportunity to get inside your client's business head and find out what actual tasks they want to perform with the product.

User acceptance testing frequently includes a final usability review of the interface, as well as testing the product with real-world data. For example, if the program is designed to handle a mail merge of a million multi-page documents, test it with a few thousand documents of varying numbers of pages, not just three one-pagers. Does your client have a test environment with a substantial amount of data that they can run through the product? You might want to give them some specifications about the resources they'll need for the UAT. What are the client's expectations of this test? What are yours, of the client?

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Also have a look at what's involved in running a Beta test. Some companies merge their UAT into a more formal Beta, with a few carefully selected clients. What feedback procedure will you use for your client to report change requests, bugs, etc.? Ensure your company's change control policy is stated in the UAT materials sent to the client. You don't want the client thinking their changes will all be implemented immediately. The change control policy also details how clients should classify the changes or errors they find (Urgent, Important, Nice to Have, etc.) Similarly, include the point of contact -- who will be responsible for receiving client calls during the test, and how will any necessary technical support be provided to them?

Will you provide any product training to the client prior to them performing the UAT? Any documentation? Does your company have a UAT plan that shows the UAT has been thought through? If you're unsure about whether they've considered all the aspects of the UAT, perhaps taking the initiative to create a plan as well as test scripts would make sense.

Or you could just throw a few test scripts at the client and see how they make out. That's always fun, too. :-)

Amy Branscome wrote:

I recently made a jump from my former life as an instructional designer to a
new hybrid account manager/doc writer position in software, and have no
experience with some of the technical docs I'm being asked to write.

My current task is to update an old UAT test script with "pretty" formatting
and current procedures to send to a client. My problem is I don't know what
conventions are used to write test scripts. My company has not previously
employed technical writers, so in many cases I'm having to make substantial
changes to existing documents, and want to be sure this one provides a
professional example to our client's IT department.

Can anyone point me in the direction of a UAT test script template or style
sheet example? I've tried searching the list-serv and Web to with little luck
(probably because I'm not sure what I'm looking for).
Beth Agnew
Professor, Technical Communication
Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology
Toronto, ON 416.491.5050 x3133


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UAT Test Scripts: From: Amy Branscome

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