George has been involved with Quality Assurance for most of his long career, both within and outside IT and as such, he has become a respected speaker and advocate of practical quality in the industry. An early adopter of agile methods in the 1990s leading development teams, he soon became a sought after speaker on the subject when the agile tide rose and testers in particular became confused about their role in this new world. George Wilson started his career as a Naval Architect and Chartered Engineer doing inspections and plan approval of new and existing craft. In this role, long complex calculations were required in new areas such as GRP composite structures which took days to complete. He created computer programs that performed these calculations in minutes and transformed the whole design, approval and inspection process.

Moving to more commercial applications, he developed systems for Plant Maintenance, Accounting, Banking, and Training Centres which were implemented around the world. Quality and innovation always played a large part of his strategy and philosophy and is reflected in his belief that quality is a team principle. He has worked as the Quality Manager in a regimented ISO 9001 environment, an approach and philosophy he has mixed feelings about.

Since setting up Original Software with CEO Colin Armitage, his role has become ever more focused on software quality helping clients adopt technology to take a wider view of quality covering all the stages and elements including those like UAT which have been traditionally disregarded, but still account for a lot of man-hours and effort at a key time.

User Acceptance Testing is often treated as the poor relation of the software delivery family. Perhaps because it is after all the ‘real’ work is done and nothing good comes out of it, from the perspective of those involved in the previous stages.

Let’s face it, all UAT does, is find bugs or what users claim are bugs. Business users are generally thought to be resistant to the amount of time and effort that they need to perform tests or to validate their applications. This generally slows down the delivery of the current project and impacts the next project the team are trying to focus on.

A rather cynical view, but also rather true in many people’s minds. However, it is one of the most important areas of testing probably involving more people and more effort than previous stages. It is when the people who will actually be using the system get a chance to validate and understand how it works and how it impacts their day to day job.

It is hard work and made even harder because it is very often carried out without much practical support and assistance.

This presentation looks at some of the data from 2 recent surveys about UAT, one from the UK and another carried out in the US. The data exposes some of the common issues and challenges experienced in this area and explores with case studies how some organisations have addressed these problems and made their UAT process more effective, better managed and more integrated with the software delivery and the adoption process.

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