Congratulations, your Salesforce project has reached the UAT stage! Everyone is excited, but what does it mean?
By this stage, you’ve completed your discovery sessions, seen your design, approved requirements, and your Attain Partners team has built the Salesforce solution you’ve been dreaming about. Salesforce may be your new single source of truth, or you might be adding to your existing Salesforce solution. Whatever the goal of your project, you’ll need to do testing to ensure it serves your organization.
What is UAT?
UAT stands for User Acceptance Testing, and it’s a key part of your Salesforce solution, be it implementation or adding to your existing functionality. This is usually one of the first times your team will get their hands on your new Salesforce solution to test out the functionality built to improve efficiency, streamline operations, and enhance advancement efforts at your institution.
UAT is the time for you and your team to test your business processes in Salesforce and give feedback about any bugs, change requests, and wish list items that weren’t initially covered in your requirements. Always striving to Be the Best, Attain Partners schedules meetings throughout the build process to verify requirements, ensure we’re on the same page, and show pieces of the functionality, but this is when it all starts to come together.
Typically, UAT is done using test scripts that your Attain Partners team has written to demonstrate your new processes. Test Scripts allow us to walk you through the step-by-step instructions you’ll follow in Salesforce. During testing, you’ll be asked to mark these individual steps as pass or fail and give feedback about the ease of use.
Why is UAT Important?
UAT tests functionality and how your users will interact with the new solution. Successful UAT involves a lot of feedback! This feedback tells your build team what needs to be tweaked and changed before launch.
You know your organization’s needs better than anyone else, which is why the Attain Partners build team needs your feedback. Every bit of feedback you can provide leads to changes unique to your team, which will help drive user adoption once you are live in Salesforce.
This can also be an excellent time to identify your Salesforce super users. Is someone on your team really excited about a new feature that will save them hours? Are there new dashboards that ease access to data your team uses daily? Encourage your super users to tell the rest of the team about it early and often.
Who Should You Choose as Testers?
Choosing the right testers for UAT is a vital step in setting your organization up for success. You know your team, but there are some general rules of thumb to help choose the best testers.
For each area in your project, you should have at least one Subject Matter Expert, or SME. For example, if your project crosses multiple facets of a fundraising department, you’ll want to make sure you have gift officers, events staff, and someone who is responsible for gift entry. Different roles have different needs from Salesforce, and you should be testing the system for all these needs.
Keep the testing team small. Although it might be tempting to have all your Salesforce users test, it will slow the testing process and can muddle the feedback you receive. Picking the right SMEs who understand the business processes you need to account for and can see the larger picture is more effective than having every user test. Team members who enjoy problem-solving and are comfortable with technology make great testers. Your Attain Partners team will break down test scripts into different personas so it will be clear which role is being tested at which time.
It’s also important to consider the time commitment when selecting your testers. UAT is a time-consuming process, often taking several hours per day for the duration of the test window. While it is appealing to have all your managers and directors conduct the testing, it’s not always practical. When planning for UAT, make sure your testers will be able to make the time for demos, status meetings, and plenty of time for testing to give thorough feedback. Testing can feel like homework, and procrastination can be tempting, but doing all your tests in one day doesn’t leave room for re-tests.
Scheduling internal time to test can help motivate the testing team and encourage them to test early, alleviating stress in the testing process and for the project as a whole. It doesn’t matter how knowledgeable your testing team is if their calendar prevents them from doing the testing!
When Should You Start Thinking About UAT?
The earlier the better! UAT is time-consuming for the testers, and it can be hard work! Your Project Manager will have an idea of when UAT should be scheduled, often as early as kickoff. This is intentional as we want to ensure the timing works for your team and your organization’s busy seasons. If you know you have a big event or a key person has vacation planned, plan testing accordingly.
Your Project Manager will help you adjust, especially when notified early of potential conflicts. Remember, UAT is your time to test your new system so the more time you can devote to it, the more refinement can take place.
What Comes Next?
Typically, UAT is the last step before user and admin training. It might seem counterintuitive to have testing occur before training, but this ensures training reflects changes that have come out of UAT. Even if your testers are feeling comfortable and confident with their new Salesforce skills, they should always attend training sessions. There might be small changes they haven’t seen since testing finished, and they can be a cheerleader for the rest of the team seeing the new system for the first time.
UAT is a key part of your Salesforce solution, regardless of whether you’re implementing something new or adding to your existing functionality. Your Attain Partners team is with you in every step of the process to help you plan, select testers, and complete testing for a successful launch.
Attain Partners – Salesforce Experts
Regardless of whether your organization is just beginning its Salesforce journey or 10+ years into development, Attain Partners is here to help you achieve your goals. Contact our team today to learn how we can help you advance your mission by harnessing the power of Salesforce.
To learn more, check out our Salesforce Innovation services, read case studies about our transformative work, and explore blog posts from our Salesforce experts. Read our latest advancement insights here.
About the Author
Beth Hintze is a Senior Specialist at Attain Partners. Prior to joining Attain Partners in 2022, she was the Director of Development Operations and Data Systems at the Innocence Project, where she specialized in strategic growth, operations management, and leading Salesforce integrations. She got her start in Salesforce at Patron Technology where she led hundreds of data migrations. She holds an M.A. from NYU in Educational Theater in Colleges and Communities. She spends her free time going to punk shows.
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