Acceptance testing is the last important test among many tests that a developed software system undergoes. Acceptance testing facilitates the end-users to test the software created and ascertain if the developed software, actually meets their requirements or not. The functionality of the software is most likely acceptable, as software system produced at this stage, would have already undergone many tests like unit testing and integration testing.
Acceptance test is neither a test that checks the software functionality nor a test that is run to expose bugs and errors. Rather, the clients themselves conduct acceptance testing, so both parties will know whether the software is feasible for the real business environment. However, sometimes the clients do not conduct acceptance testing, because they believe in the capability of the software created. This is because they had participated in some of the software testing methods in the past, such as the usability testing. In this way, they know that the software they will be buying actually meets their requirements. It is recommended though, that clients perform acceptance testing, because this is their ultimate chance to see for themselves, whether the software is really what they need.
Acceptance Testing is the responsibility of the Client
While all other software tests are the responsibility of the software developers, acceptance testing is the sole responsibility of the client. Acceptance testing is the final test that allows them to test the functionality of the software and report, if any discrepancy is found in the system.
It is important to note that, soon after the acceptance test is conducted, the client should pay the full amount of the software to the software development company. Sometimes, the client may discover some bugs in the software after getting it for actual usage. Under such a scenario, the software developer may not accept the responsibility to fix those bugs because of the client’s approval of the software during the acceptance testing stage. In this regard, the client has to pay additional fees for making modifications in the software. To avoid such an unsavory scenario, a test plan is created and used.
A test plan is essential when a client wants to see the kind of results he wants to see. However, software developers also need to have a formal and a more documented test to enable their client to perform the test plan to arrive at a satisfactory result. It is possible that the client will not be having the technical background to run the acceptance tests and understand its functionality. A separate document can contain the test plan. It is also possible to include the acceptance test in the general test plan created previously in the design phase. Whatever option you choose, you should take note of the following considerations:
Different Criteria and Work Plans for Acceptance Test
Acceptance testing is governed by a number of criteria and wok plans. The software tester should consider them before devising the test. Here are some of the critical criteria and work plans to conduct an acceptance test.
The responsibility of the client - The test plan should have a well-defined list of the client’s responsibility and duties, so that the client would know exactly the areas where they should concentrate. The test plan should also act as a description of the activities that the client should conduct, when the client is running the test. Nevertheless, you should also inform the client of the software developer’s duty in running the acceptance test. The client is mainly responsible for all aspects that are involved in the acceptance test.
The criteria of acceptance – It is important to know the acceptable level of quality the software before the running of acceptance test. Because of this fact, you may need to develop the needed criterion. Not all created software systems are perfect and foolproof. Thus, it makes sense to know the level of errors for acceptability. Often, a client may accept the software, even when there are some minor errors. However, when there are too many complicated errors then it will be impossible to run the software. One essential part of the acceptance criteria is to validate all the other kinds of software tests those were conducted in the recent past. For example, the customer may want to see, if the functionality and the response time of the system is still the same, as before, when developers conducted the software test.
The work plan for the acceptance test – You may also need to consider the work plan when running the acceptance test. First, the clients will need to determine different activities related to the acceptance test and find out when to start and stop the test. Second, the work plan should also define in clear terms the duties of each of the members of software acceptance team. The work plan is very critical because it will empower members of the team to know and understand the things expected from them so that they will understand the time line within which they should conduct the test.
After considering all these things, you should note that the acceptance test should follow the general acceptance test plan. After the acceptance test, the client may either accept the software or seek further modifications. In case of modifications, the client may need to incorporate the requested changes and modifications and find out the possibilities of further refinements and improvements. After the completion of tests, the client will have the option of running the test once again or accept the modified software as it is and in its last improved version. It is also possible to test just some parts of the software where the modifications occurred so that the client can save both the time and money.
However, not all software systems developed are on-site. Some of them may have been outsourced. The entire range of functionalities of the software should be checked during the acceptance test process so that any unforeseen problem could be detected and corrected.
Advantages of Using Acceptance Testing
While acceptance testing may not be the most crucial in knowing the functionality of the software, this is probably the most important test in relation with the financial aspects of the software developers. If the software fails this test, then the testers will need to devise other tests and go through many modifications and changes to make the software foolproof.
Acceptance testing also simulates the actual environment where the client will use the software system. In addition, the testing environment in acceptance testing will also simulate extremely differing conditions to ensure that it will not fail in case these conditions reoccur again. Therefore, you can expect to find possible failure or errors that had not yet occurred during the other software testing methods.
Generally, it is easier to run an acceptance test compared to other types of test, because it is not an in-depth examination of the software’s functionality. Rather, this is just a test that satisfies the client and assures them that the software they buy has the functionality they need. Ultimately, the clients will use the software developed, so it is essential that they are happy with the results of what they paid for.
It is good to conduct acceptance testing, whether you are the client or the software developer, because acceptance testing is the last opportunity for the client to discover errors that could be serious. On the part of the software developers, acceptance testing is the test that will give them the profitability they need, when the client finally pays the balance amount. Even though acceptance testing is something akin to a cursory test, this is the most anticipated among all the other software-testing methods that are available today.
In nutshell, the advantages of using acceptance test procedures are many and some of them are:
- The client can run the entire software, so he can ascertain whether it has the required functionality.
- The clients will develop confidence of using the software, because of running the software test all by themselves.
- The acceptance test will reveal any minor errors that may not be acceptable to the client, even though it is acceptable to the software developer