There it is. Your completed project. You’ve got it done on-time, on-budget, it’s been thoroughly system tested and it’s almost ready to be shipped off to the real world.
Before that happens, though, you’ve got to pass it along to your users for User Acceptance Testing (UAT). You know the importance of UAT , so you’re committed to finishing the project correctly. You’re going to make the time to allow the users to test the solution as one final check that the solution meets the business requirements.
So you pass the solution over to the users to check the system against their own business requirements. This way it will be done quickly and cheaply so that you can get this process over with, and get a solution out the door.
Unfortunately this is how we see a lot of companies and teams conduct their UAT process. Much of it is done informally, and completely at the discretion of the user to find all of the mistakes. If your company is one that does it the informal way, we have 3 reasons why you should reconsider:
Missing crucial issues
Conducting UAT in this manner will most likely result in something being missed by the user. Users rarely know about all of the potential use-cases that there are, and therefore could miss some crucial issues. As we all know, the longer an issue goes undetected, the more expensive it’s going to be to fix it in the end. Especially if the issue isn’t found before the first release.
Lost early sales
Early sales are worth more than the sum of their parts. In most cases, they’re made by customers that are of the special “early adopter” breed. Someone who’s willing to take a risk on some exciting new technology and wants to tell all of their friends and colleagues about. It is a HUGE cost to the bottom line if their experience is ruined by an issue that could have been found in a more thorough UAT process.
Lost company time
Members of the original product team are most likely going to be spearheading the efforts to fix any issues that were discovered upon the first release. This doesn’t just include engineering time used to fix issues that were found with the product, but also time from quality assurance to re-check everything to ensure it’s working properly again, as well as sales and marketing to try to win back the first customers that were lost due to issues. As we know, winning back these customers is not going to be easy.
The troubling part about using an informal UAT process is that sometimes it does actually work out. Sometimes users find all of the issues by going through UAT themselves without any formal, rigorous process. So sometimes companies can get away with it. Like many instances of playing with fire, sometimes you will get away with it, until that one time that you don’t. So you have to ask yourself, are the consequences worth it?