Conducting UAT Sessions
UAT often begins with a kickoff meeting in which users gain access to the new or revised application. I use the kickoff meeting to address a number of topics, realizing that we might not be assembled again as a single group. If I'm running the UAT kickoff meeting, I try to include the following activities:
- Generate excitement about testing
- Answer any questions about testing or the product
- Reiterate testing expectations and deadlines
- Outline acceptance criteria and signoff
- Discuss defect reporting
- Provide contact information for any people who are ready to help the UAT testers
- Get commitment that the dates will be upheld
- Schedule the next meeting or the final meeting
Your meetings will vary, but these are generally the most important items to address. Plan to linger after the meeting to answer questions: You're likely to find that some UAT testers are executives or customers who are concerned about asking basic product questions in a group setting, and you want the testers to leave the kickoff meeting ready to get right to work on the testing.
Ask users how you can follow up with each of them throughout the UAT cycle. Would email be convenient? Could you plan to talk in person the following week? By taking the time to follow up with each person, you may find out about issues early on, and in more detail than if you wait until a group signoff meeting.