“How do we test an ERP system that we do not know how to use?” is a question often posed during ERP implementations during the User Acceptance Testing (UAT) phase. This is a tricky situation as the end users often have the most in-depth knowledge of the business processes and are most likely to find “bugs” during testing, but usually have the least familiarity with a new ERP system. This blog explores some non-traditional UAT approaches to turn system beginners into power users through nine idioms.
- “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” – You cannot train users on a relatively untested system and users cannot test when they have no training. Provide an initial overview training session, then have users get into the system as doing is the most effective way to learn a new system.
- “You need to crawl before you can walk”– Have users start with the most basic test scenarios and processes and then move on to the more complicated scenarios.
- “Practice makes perfect” – Plan for multiple rounds of UAT in your project plan to allow core users to internalize how to use the new system and become comfortable.
- “Measure twice, cut once” – UAT should be an iterative process with time planned for re-testing and having multiple users test each critical test scenario.
- “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” – Inevitably, there will be bugs, issues, and changes needed. UAT will identify them, helping improve the system before it goes “live”.
- “Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill” – When users mark test scripts as failed, ensure the issues are properly prioritized. Have the user consider whether bugs are critical before go-live.
- “A poor craftsman blames his tools” – Set up the UAT tracking tool in such a way that it can track multiple rounds of testing in the case of a failed test script, whether that means tracking each round of issue retesting separately or overwriting the previous round’s results with the current results.
- “Teamwork makes the dream work” – When unable to write test scripts before UAT due to limited system knowledge, users can document the steps taken as they test in the system, thus creating the test script. In this scenario, pair people together so that one person can write the scripts while the other executes them. This can also provide the benefit of cross-training smaller teams.
- “Kill two birds with one stone” – By creating test scripts during UAT, users can recycle the test scripts as standard operating procedures or training instructions once the system is live.
During any ERP implementation, the UAT phase can be one of the most challenging and time-consuming periods. This is only magnified when end users have limited experience with the new system. However, by adhering to these nine idioms, an inexperienced user can serve as a meaningful contributor to the process and learn the skills needed to succeed in his or her future role.