"Testing, Testing" - EngageUAT Blog

The Users You Will Come Across in UAT - And How To Manage Them

Colin Robertson on Jul 30, 2014


There they sit. Each of the users that are about to go through your thorough, well-planned user acceptance test. You’ve done everything you can to ensure that the process will run smoothly, and now it’s time to hand the system over to the users to be tested. The problem? Users are unpredictable.

Unfortunately, every single user that you conduct your testing with is going to be different. You’re going to have some that are detailed-oriented and some who are easy-going. You’re going to have some who are tech-savvy and some who long for the days of the VHS. And you need to plan a test that will be ready for all of them.

Here are some characters that you’ll likely come across in the UAT process:

The perfectionist.

The perfectionist seems like someone who will be great for UAT. They’re going to be extremely detail-oriented. They will be extremely thorough in their approach. They will go over every edge case, every detail and go through incredibly complex scenarios that they have never faced, and probably will never face. Although that sounds like it will be beneficial, it will drain your UAT time and budget painfully. A good test manager will recognize this personality and work on communicating the limits of scope in the project in order to “reel them in”.

The laissez-faire

The exact opposite of the perfectionist is the laissez-faire. This user assumes that all of the issues have already been found by the functional testing team, and they just need to go through the motions. This user wants to put the least amount of time in that’s necessary in order to get the job done and underestimates the problem of still having issues during go live. Test managers must communicate the value of UAT to these users and lay out a more detailed process to ensure they go through all of the use-cases.

The tech-impaired

This user is extremely common yet always seems to come as a shock to the testing team. Many users want to do a great job in the testing process, but they simply do not have the tech-savvy that the people in QA do. Test managers must keep everything as simple and spelled out for these users as possible. Some of them are too proud to mention when they run into issues, so make sure that you have solid communication structures in place.

The bad apple

This user is the toughest of all to deal with. Not only are they not motivated to go through the testing process, but they also don’t even believe in the project. They could be against implementing the new system for many different reasons, and they’re going to do their best to squash the project. You can’t help having to deal with this type of user, but the important thing is ensuring that this bad apple doesn’t spoil the bunch. Having the group know the purpose of the system will help quiet the bad apples’ influence. Good test managers will communicate the value of the system up front so the users see the purpose behind why they’re doing UAT in the first place.

Conclusion

Users are not robots. They’re going to have different personalities, levels of education and motivation for going through user-acceptance testing. Despite our best efforts to plan, manage and conduct the UAT process, we face unchartered waters when we put the project in front of users. We listed common users that you may face in your UAT process, but there will be more that you come across with their own upside and downside. You must be prepared to deal with different people with different motivations and levels of experience. We wish you the best of luck navigating through your next UAT!