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User acceptance testing (UAT) is a critical part of any technology project. Developers can accurately work from a requirement specification, but it's vital that 'real' users (or testers who can act in the same way) test and confirm that the changes made are fit for its purpose. Many businesses choose to conduct UAT with internal resources, but an increasing number of project managers now outsource this critical part of the project workflow. If you're in charge of a technology project, find out why it's sometimes a good idea to outsource your UAT.
Outsourcing is often a good way to save money, and outsourced user acceptance testing is generally no exception. Testing providers often work out of countries where overheads and salaries are considerably lower than Australia, and this allows these companies to pass on the savings to your project. As such, you can normally allocate more hours to UAT for the same budget, or you can decrease the budget you set aside for this testing phase.
Internal resource often leads to 'hidden' costs. For example, if you take somebody out of his or her usual role for 20 hours of testing, your project may not incur any cost, but the business will generally need to pay somebody else to do that person's work. Remember that the savings that outsourcing generates are not always immediately visible to your project plan, but the business still inherits the cost in other places.
Allows you to manage the project to strict deadlines
Most technology projects operate to strict deadlines. Without allocated test resources, it's often difficult to meet the demands of a tight timescale. The next phase of the project workflow depends on successful completion of the UAT phase, so it's important to make sure you work to schedule. Project managers can demand more from outsourced resources because the provider is under a contractual obligation to meet specific deadlines.
Relieves pressure on internal resources
Many project managers underestimate the skills that people need to successfully carry out UAT. In most businesses, UAT work inevitably falls to the same small group of people because they have developed the necessary skills to carry out the role. In some cases, this can cause a delay in delivery because multiple projects compete for the same resources.
Outsourcing removes this challenge. A third-party provider can allocate the skills you need with minimal notice, avoiding the need to rely on people who already have other commitments.
Gives the project manager more flexibility
To meet deadlines, budgets and quality requirements, it's vital that development work passes the acceptance criteria you agree to as part of a UAT plan. Project managers must sometimes bid for UAT resources with different teams around the business, which makes it harder to get the right people in the right place at the right time.
A third-party outsourcer can pick up as much (or as little) of the UAT as you want. For example, you may decide that you want the testers to complete some extra tasks, including updating user documents or training materials. Some providers will even suggest that testers then meet with real users to support operational acceptance testing. According to the urgency behind the project, outsourcing user acceptance testing can mean the project manager needs to oversee fewer people.
Increase testing quality
Internal user acceptance testing can sometimes suffer from quality issues. Defect removal efficiency in the United States is around 85 percent, which means 15 percent of the problems don't surface until the project goes live. Outsourcing the process to a third-party provider can alleviate this problem, particularly for certain organisations. For example, a small business will often not have the people or the experience to accurately complete UAT.
The quality issue doesn't just apply to small businesses. Even larger, established businesses sometimes suffer with quality problems, particularly when they are working with new technology.
Effective UAT is a critical part of any technology project, but it's important to consider different approaches. Internal testing doesn't necessarily guarantee the best results, so project managers should always consider the opportunities that outsourcing can bring. For more information, contact a project workflow specialist to get the most out of your procurement software and processes.Share
12 January 2015