5 reasons to stop using spreadsheets for UAT

Introduction

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is an inevitable part of the process that normally comes towards the end of the software change cycle. This ensures the software is usable, safe, understood, and can fulfill the objectives it is being introduced for. By implementing UAT strategies before committing to changing systems, businesses can nominate users who will be directly involved in working with the new system. 

When the new system is introduced, the users will test and ensure that the business’s objectives required are achieved, such as improving work efficiency.
Historically, UAT has been conducted through manual and often tedious processes, including screenshotting errors which are encountered. These error reports are pasted into a word document and then using a separate spreadsheet to document a range of information to understand the error better, if it could be avoidable, and if it would negatively change the business’ operations.
Whilst this may be feasible for a few errors, it is unknown how many errors could show up; if the company as a whole experienced thousands of unknown system issues, then users would be dedicating time to this documentation deviating from their company duties. This, coupled with the inconsistent approach taken by different users, makes understanding the current situation even more difficult for the person controlling the process.
Fortunately, technological influences in UAT practices now allow for a much simpler approach, saving time and money for businesses. By switching to capture technology, users can continue with everyday responsibilities with the UAT solution tracking the user, documenting issues as they arise, allowing comments, and enabling further information to be recorded if needed.

Manual Spreadsheets & Post-it Notes are Slow and Outdated

Whilst all UAT will involve at some point manual testing, the equipment, and tools implemented significantly impact how time-consuming the testing will need to be for the user. Although spreadsheets can document the process, this is incredibly inefficient and error-prone. This needs to be considered during the strategy and planning phase to understand that testing will need to document the results manually.

Manual testing with spreadsheets also requires multiple documents per individual testing, including a document for copying the image errors and a spreadsheet documenting the users’ experience.

The issue of centralized spreadsheets that are available also appears, when a user doesn’t have the correct access this can bring the testing session to a halt. Also when users copy the last project spreadsheet this may introduce errors when the test cases are not the correct version and there is no traceability to show where they have come from.

Whereas using modern approaches using technology allows for a quicker user documenting time, bypassing the need for the majority of manual work from the user to just commenting on issues when they arise.

Individual Spreadsheets are Always Different and Require More Work

In order for success in UAT, the test is reliant on users providing responses from their experience. However, through using spreadsheets, the accuracy, level of detail and frequency of the responses may vary drastically from user to user.

Whilst the business and UAT manager strategizing the test may wish to design a uniform spreadsheet for the users to ensure a systematic approach is being taken, the quality between each user’s approach will differ dramatically. This will result in a standardized spreadsheet that will still need to be adapted to the individual user.

While some findings will inevitably differentiate how the system is supposed to work technically, users within the organization will have different roles and detect different system issues. Using capturing technology will be a significant benefit for large organizations that require multiple users across different departments to be testing the proposed software; capturing technology is exceptionally competent in documenting the issues.

Spreadsheets Rely on User Honesty

Due to the manual nature of spreadsheet UAT, there is a reliance placed on users, to be honest, and meticulous during the process. For successful testing, all detected errors and issues will need to be recorded for review and analysis. Depending on the project’s size and change, there may be a large number of users testing the new system or very few emphasizing the need for systematic and honest reporting of system issues.

This reliance on the honesty of users is a significant drawback to only implementing manual spreadsheet UAT. Some users will have been willing to participate, whereas others will have been instructed to take part, and their responses will be less passionate and meticulous. Manual spreadsheet methods mean users’ input will drastically differ and may often not be a comprehensive reporting of the system; when users are busy with their duties, they may not prioritize the systems reporting.

Through using capturing technology, there is less pressure on users to provide the documentation with the tools automatically tracking the performance of the user, flagging up issues for further comments.

Capture Technology Supports and Improves the experience

A fundamental part of User Acceptance Testing is to improve the efficiency of a company’s operation, and the testing process should not deviate from this. By utilising capture tracking technology in the testing process, you can be assured that the testing is accurate and efficient and not distracting users from their day-to-day responsibilities.

The testing process needs to be a seamless and accurate representation of the system’s regular day-to-day activities. Capturing tools provide an excellent opportunity for the testing process to be monitored thoroughly whilst not requiring an excess use of time or effort from users.

Capture Tools are More Efficient for UAT

Capturing tools are extremely efficient in UAT practices; through implementing the technology, the testing process requires little to no effort for the user. Fortunately, the market is saturated with solutions varying by prices, meaning it doesn’t need to be an expensive factor.

As a result of less effort on the users part, the responses received can be much more useful and accurate. Implementing tools like this can also lead to more efficient analysis of the results. Often within testing processes, the results can contain false positives or negatives regarding the system’s experience and the extent to defects being reported.  Capture technology can mitigate this by capturing all  issues, questions, risks, or new requirements that occurred, validating the results and providing an accurate representation of the system performance.

Capturing technology further benefits the retesting phase; when comparing the preliminary testing results with those gained from retesting, you have a thorough understanding of all issues detected for comparison. Using spreadsheets, however, will only allow for comparison between issues detected which have been recorded.

Ensure the system change you’re considering is going to be a positive introduction to the business operations. Utilizng capturing technology with UAT can help provide more accurate results for implementing the change. Book a free demo with Original Software today.

About Original Software

The Ultimate UAT Guide has been brought to you by Original Software. Our mission is to deliver quality software, that is easy to use, with an intuitive UI, and is loved by our clients. Original Software enables organizations to meet their testing objectives rapidly, by delivering innovative solutions to support application quality.

Our software provides the fastest way to capture and share business processes, validate application functionality, and manage projects in real-time.

If you’re only just starting out with UAT or have been conducting it for years, get in touch with us today to discover how our Qualify UAT approach can dramatically improve the efficiency of your process.use

Our clients have reported time and effort savings of 60%

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