In software testing, there are four levels of testing that guarantee a thorough and efficient testing process. Every phase of SDLC goes through all four levels of testing to avoid overlapping between the phases and uncover gaps. These levels of testing are unit testing, integration testing, system testing, and acceptance testing. Each phase of the SDLC rigorously adheres to the aforementioned order of the testing levels.
Unit testing ensures that each individual component of a software product functions as intended. Integration testing combines tested components and confirms that the interaction between those components is proper. System testing validates integrated components as a single unit and checks whether the software product satisfies the specified requirements.
The last level is acceptance testing, which assesses the software product to check whether it is in compliance with the specified requirements and is ready for the final release or not.
If you are not aware of this testing level and want to explore more, this article is for you.
In this article, we shall focus on acceptance testing and its various aspects. So, let us get started with our discussion!
What is Acceptance Testing? [Definition]
It is the last level of software testing after system testing, where the software product is evaluated for its acceptability. At this testing level, neither developers nor testers are involved. Instead, clients, stakeholders, or users carry out this type of testing. They decide whether the software product is ready to go live or not.
Once the testers sign off on system testing, they hand over the software product to a group of a few real users or a few members of an organization. They examine the software product and respond to the combined effort of software developers and testers either by accepting or rejecting the software product.
Also, they assess the software product to verify that it is in accordance with the quality standards and end users’ requirements. The testing environment is analogous to the production environment. Generally, the test environment of acceptance testing is referred to as staging, pre-prod, fail-over, and UAT environment.
Furthermore, it is a black-box testing method, where the individuals intended for testing assess the software product to verify that it possesses all the specified functionality. They need not have to be familiar with the specifics of design or implementation.
Why Acceptance Testing?
Like system testing, this type of testing method also examines the software product as a whole. Moreover, this testing method involves tests that might have been covered in system testing. Now, it is obvious to have one question in mind: why perform acceptance testing if the tests are repetitive? Some of the major reasons are to make sure that the software product:
- Works as intended without any glitches
- Is ready to launch
- Meets the business and current market standards
- Is fully equipped to give competition to other similar products in the market
The following are some primary uses of acceptance testing:
- Uncover defects missed during the previous software testing levels.
- Lower and eliminate the issues that may arise during the production of the software product.
- Get feedback from the stakeholders or users (who perform testing) to improve the software product to gain maximum customer satisfaction.
- Check how well the product turned out in accordance with the requirements.
- Verify whether the product is something that customers are looking for.
Entry and Exit Criteria
Entry criteria are the conditions to be met in order to commence a specific phase, while exit criteria are conditions to be met to terminate the current phase.
Similar to every other phase of SDLC , acceptance testing also has entry and exit criteria. It begins right after system testing and terminates before moving to the production or launching phase. So, we can say that the exit criteria of system testing serve as the entry criteria for acceptance testing.
- Sign off on the system testing.
- Fix all minor and critical bugs or errors.
- Prepare a list of known issues and share it with stakeholders.
- Setting up and checking the acceptance testing environment.
- Define business requirements and make them available.
- All acceptance tests should be run and should pass.
- There should be no open defects or errors. They should be identified and fixed.
- Stakeholders should sign off the acceptance testing phase with their decision of either to accept or reject the product.
Qualities of Acceptance Testers
As discussed earlier, acceptance testing does not involve developers or testers in the process; instead, clients or a group of a few real users carry it out. So, it is essential that acceptance testers should have the following set of qualities:
- Logical and analytical thinking.
- Sound knowledge of the domain.
- Ability to study and analyze other similar products available in the market.
- Possess end-user perspective while testing the product.
- Comprehend business and end users’ requirements thoroughly and test the product accordingly.
Here are the notable benefits of acceptance testing:
- As this testing method involves clients and stakeholders, there is maximum satisfaction.
- It follows the block-box testing approach , and hence, the entire functionality of the product undergoes testing.
- Executing acceptance tests is pretty easy as there the quality requirements are already outlined before the commencement of the development process.
- As a result of this testing process, users gain a deeper understanding of the application.
Some of the major drawbacks of acceptance testing are as follows:
- It is essential for users involved in testing to possess basic knowledge of the product.
- Many times, users do not show their interest in participating in the testing process. So, it is challenging to find testers that best fit for this testing.
- There is no involvement of development and testing teams.
Types of Acceptance Testing
There are seven types of acceptance testing as follows:
1. User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
UAT, also known as end-user testing, determines whether the product is functioning correctly for the end users. This type of testing focuses on assessing the requirements that align with the features of the software product the end-users leverage mostly. The acceptance testers conduct UAT from the end users’ point of view.
2. Business Acceptance Testing (BAT)
As its name implies, BAT assesses the software product to check whether it meets the business goals and requirements or not. The foremost focus of BAT is on improving the software product for maximum business profits, which are quite challenging because of advanced technologies and varying market conditions. More importantly, the software product that qualifies for all technical requirements may fail due to business requirements if it does not comply with them.
3. Contract Acceptance Testing (CAT)
CAT is a type of testing that entails a contract called a Service Level Agreement (SLA). CAT specifies that once the software product goes live, it should undergo acceptance testing and pass all the acceptance tests within the predetermined time.
Moreover, SLA includes the conditions for making the payment only if the software product provides services that align with the requirements. This implies the fulfillment of the contract.
This agreement is sometimes made prior to the launch of the product. A clear contract should outline the testing period, the areas to be tested, conditions for problems that may arise later on, payment schedules, etc.
4. Regulations Acceptance Testing (RAT)
RAT is another crucial type of testing that assess the software product to check that it complies with the rules and regulations laid out by the county’s government where the product is being launched. Even if the software product violates the rules and regulations unintentionally, it may have an adverse impact on the product as well as the business.
Every country or region has its own guidelines and regulation. So, if the software product violates the rules of any specific country or region, it is banned to use in that particular country. This, in turn, implies the failure of the software product. So, it is essential for the software product to undergo RAT before its production.
5. Operational Acceptance Testing (OAT)
OAT evaluates the software product to determine whether it is ready to operate or not. It primarily entails testing the software product for its reliability, recoverability, compatibility, availability, and maintainability. It is non-functional testing, which assures that the software product is stable and ready to move to the production phase.
6. Alpha Testing
In alpha testing, a team of specialized members called alpha testers who are part of an organization test the software product in the testing environment. Alpha testers come up with their suggestion and feedback to improve the software product.
To explore more about alpha testing, you can check out the article: What is Alpha Testing?
7. Beta Testing
Beta testing involves testing the software product by a team of a few real users called beta testers who will be using it after its launch. Based on beta testers' feedback and suggestions, the software product undergoes changes with the primary intent to improve the user experience.
Read more about beta testing here .
Acceptance Testing (AT) Process
Here is the complete AT process:
1. Business Requirements Analysis
This phase involves collecting and analyzing the business requirements of the software product by referring to all the available documents. Some of these documents are as follows:
- Software Requirements Specification
- Business Use Cases
- Business Requirements Document
- Designed Data Matrix
- Workflow Diagrams
2. Design Acceptance Test Plan
In this phase, the strategy for performing the testing process is outlined. Besides, this phase lays out many other aspects required in the testing process as follows:
- Entry and exit criteria
- The scope of AT
- Acceptance test design approach to create detailed test cases
- Testing schedule and timelines
- Details in logging bugs
3. Design & Review Acceptance Tests
This phase entails the creation of acceptance tests that highlight what has to be done. Each requirement of the software product should have corresponding test cases. After creating test cases, they undergo a review process in order to achieve high coverage of requirements with minimum test cases.
4. Acceptance Test Bed Set Up
Once done with test case creation and review, now it’s time to set up the test bed for executing test cases. This test bed is analogous to the production environment. After setting up the test bed, it undergoes extremely high levels of checks to confirm its stability.
5. Acceptance Test Data Set-Up
After the establishment of the test bed, test data has to be set up. The test data assists acceptance testers in executing test cases. Also, it is better to have a document directing testers on the usage of data for running test cases.
6. Acceptance Test Execution
Once everyone is in place, acceptance testers run test cases by providing appropriate input values. After the execution of the test cases, they compare the actual and the expected results. For any test case, if the actual and expected results do not match, they raise an error and report it to the development team through the test execution report.
7. Business Decision
After executing all test cases, the team of acceptance testers comes to a decision on whether the software product is ready to go live or not. If the software product is free from all defects and complies with all the requirements, it is ready for production. Some of the reasons for the no-go decision include:
- Several functional bugs.
- Poor quality of the product.
- Divergence in the business requirements.
- Not in compliance with the current market standards.
That was all about acceptance testing. This final level of software testing assesses the software product for its acceptability or readiness for the market. Though a lot of tools are accessible, organizations prefer conducting acceptance testing manually. The reason is that the users involved in this type of testing may not be from a technical background.
We hope you found this article interesting and enlightening.
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