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How to handle "UAT" in Agile/DevOps delivery

User Acceptance when done properly is very effective.  But in most cases i have seen companies taking this to the extreme especially in companies who were following traditional waterfall process

People are used to do certain things in certain way for long. It is difficult for them to change. Moreover there is a trust factor. They don't (or wont) trust the quality of the software unless they verify it. The result is complex long UAT period where someone from "UAT testing" team as to test  and approve before the product can be released to production. They even refuse to share their test cases with others. And in many cases i have seen that this testing might not find real bugs or is even related to user acceptance. This is the remnant of old way of doing things and this should change in modern Agile  DevOps delivery. Ideally the UAT period should be very small and if possible eliminate this stage completely.

The Agile Coaches and scrum masters will have to "train" other in this modern way of thinking

All the UAT test scenarios should be part of the User stories. When the sprint is done , ideally the product should be of "potentiality shippable " quality.

I would engage the stakeholders and other UAT testers much before. They should be part of backlog grooming where they can provide the feedback on the user stories. they should be present during the sprint demo . Team should demo these scenarios to Product Owner (and UAT/stakeholders). It will be great if these can be automated. Once people realize that all the testing they are doing was already done and is automated , they may be willing to change their approach. you can also show the "waste" in the system because of this effort duplication.Even then they may insist on doing the separate UAT phase but if there are no bugs found during the UAT testing you may get better support. Automation will be the key weapon which you can use. even if they insist on separate "testing" phase because of the automation the duration will be very less. Gradually this will help in the cultural change.

A proper automation from start including the business teams and delivery teams can be implemented if you follow Behavior Driven Development (BDD)

Check these for additional information


  1. https://cucumber.io/
  2. https://specflow.org/
Contact me if you need any additional help/input/coaching on these topics

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