CRM, User Acceptance Testing (UAT)…Unite All Teams (UAT)

CRM, User Acceptance Testing (UAT)...Unite All Teams (UAT)

And yet another acronym – UAT. User Acceptance Testing. It sounds so brainwashy. Let’s change that attitude and, while we’re at it, the words behind the acronym. The purpose of UAT is for end-users to take a look at new but-not-final system. That said, it’s much more than a series of scripts and tests; it’s an opportunity to Unite All Teams. UAT, that’s much better.

Ten UAT considerations:

  1. Change management. A successful UAT should result in only minor grumbling (because of course, you did such an excellent job gathering requirements while explaining what could be done within the scope of the project). You should have a change management strategy in place and users already on-board.
  2. Training and explaining. UAT is really training. It’s a time for users to become familiar with the system so when you are live basic functions don’t seem so foreign. You want to spend more time training and explaining and less time fielding suggestions or complaints.
  3. Suggestions. Of course, there is no such thing as a “perfect” UAT. Users will suggest improvements. Some suggestions will be good, some will not be good. Have a plan for how you will handle the suggestions. I’m a fan of the “parking lot” as long as the car does not get lost. This is a good time to introduce your “new features” implementation process; ideas should be prioritized and resourced in alignment with organizational goals.
  4. Communications. Convey excitement; better yet, ask your users to convey excitement. After all, you are unveiling a prototype of the CRM you’ve been talking about for so many months. Convey expectations. This is a test, which means it likely will not be perfect. That is expected. Have an agenda, share with your participants and please, stick to the allotted time.
  5. Participation. Invite those you have engaged in the requirements gathering process and – I can’t emphasize the enough – give them enough notice. These projects are often rushed, be considerate of your users who are busy fundraising.
  6. A “pre” UAT. I know…it sounds like a meeting about a meeting. However, before the UAT occurs, the people closest to the project should test. You don’t want too many error messages at the onset of your “real” UAT. Red is bad. If you need to postpone the UAT due to errors, do it and explain the reason to your users.
  7. Unite! UAT Day is here. Your UAT is a forum to show off and rally the team around how CRM supports their business. It’s not theoretical any more – they will see it and see it working. And please, no screen shots! Your UAT must be in a working (but test) system. If you get unexpected error messages, just chalk it up to it being a test. Users are forgiving as long as you are transparent.
  8. Leaders. I.T. and a very involved stakeholder from the business should co-lead the UAT. Roles are probably already obvious but if needed, determine who does what prior to UAT Day.
  9. Post-UAT steps. Part of your change management (or communications) plan should be a message from your key testers (users) explaining what they witnessed. Your organization is moving from theory to reality but you want an end-user to convey this – not I.T.
  10. Recognize. Thank those who participate in UAT and alert their supervisor. These folks are giving time above and beyond their day jobs. And they should feel valued and thanked.

Think of your UAT as an opportunity to Unite All Teams. All participants leave UAT prepared for what’s to come – a winning CRM they built that supports the business.

Lisa Fay Wellek

About Lisa Fay Wellek

Lisa Fay Wellek has worked in the nonprofit sector for 20 years with focus on integrating CRM with fundraising. She is the owner of Philanthropy361 LLC, which consults with non-profits about how to best implement and strategically use CRM. She is a frequent project member with build Consulting. She was with JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) for 10 years in various roles including Chief of Staff for Development and most recently, National Director of CRM Strategy. With Lisa Fay’s leadership, JDRF launched LuminateCRM - a Blackbaud product that uses as its development platform. She believes that in today’s fast paced tech-focused world, non-profits must invest in the right infrastructure and staff in order to be sustainable (let alone grow). Previous posts include: Stevens Institute of Technology, KPMG Consulting and University of Connecticut Foundation.

One comment

  1. Hey thanks a lot for sharing this. I must say it is quite useful. I came across user Acceptance Testing and it has some really very interesting stuff. It’s worth having a look.

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