In our previous article, we shared the 5 Types of Testing that Every Kronos Customer is Responsible For. Each of these Kronos testing types plays an important role when developing an effective Quality Assurance program for your workforce management (WFM) initiative.
In this article, we provide high-level guidance and best practices for effective User Acceptance Testing (UAT) of your Kronos WFM system.
What is User Acceptance Testing (UAT)?
User Acceptance Testing (UAT) validates that your end-to-end workflows meet business requirements. UAT is sometimes referred to as “week-in-the-life” testing because it uses PROD-like data to mimic the real-world business processes performed by the various roles in an organization. UAT should be performed by end-users i.e., subject matter experts (SMEs) from the field to ensure that the product meets the business needs.
The tests are typically written by project team members, such as your Customer or Systems Integration (SI) partner, in collaboration with SMEs with intimate knowledge of the business processes and standard operating procedures (SOPs). Understanding workflow processes and SOPs at the test writing stage is crucial as it leads to fewer surprises during the UAT workshops, improved adoption, and a faster rollout of the new solution.
UAT execution most commonly occurs after function testing and system integration testing (SIT) is complete with no high or showstopper defects, as these could impact the UAT.
Pro Tip/Recommendations: You may be wondering if UAT can begin before functional testing and SIT. Our answer is, “Yes!” However, there are caveats. UAT represents an opportunity for end-users to provide valuable feedback on how the new system meets their business needs. If the system they’re performing UAT on is full of defects and missing key features, you’ll miss that opportunity and their feedback will be understandably negative.
If this occurs, UAT will become another round of functional testing where the participants end up commenting on the quality of the build, rather than the enhanced business processes provided by the new system. The result is that you don’t get the critical feedback you need until the first wave of pilot stores, which could cause a delayed rollout and negative adoption of the new system.
Use this workflow if you’re considering UAT before completing functional testing and SIT:
- Complete at least two passes of functional testing
- Complete at least one pass of Systems Integration Testing (SI)
- Ensure there are no critical or high defects
- Successfully import all test users in the system
Note: UAT is typically performed in a separate QA environment or instance.
Pro Tip/Recommendation: We’re often asked whether UAT requires a separate instance from the other types of testing, such as functional, SIT, parallel, or regression. While this isn’t the preferred approach, cost considerations often require it. With proper planning, it’s possible to proceed with a shared QA environment, assuming that you take the appropriate security precautions. For example: masking or separating test data, assigning test employees and end-users to each tester, and careful coordination of the timelines for releases and bug fixes.
How to Approach Kronos UAT
You should start UAT by identifying and validating the business use cases for the critical roles in your organization. SMEs in the field should do this using close-to-real-world data (data masking is preferred). There are several ways to do this:
- On-Site Instructor or Test Lead Led: the instructor should provide a brief overview of the solution before the end-users test the real-world scenarios.
- Off-Site Instructor or Test Lead Led: this is similar to the on-site approach, but the sessions are held online/virtual.
- Off-Site Instructor or Test Lead Performed: under more extreme time constraints, this variation of a virtual workshop sees the instructor perform all the persona test cases (i.e., clicks through the application). In this format, the end-users follow along and document their results and comments, providing feedback while the instructor performs the tests. While this isn’t the preferred best practice, it’s sometimes necessary.
No matter the format of the approach you choose, it’s imperative that participants provide comments and feedback for each scenario. Dialogue with end-users is far more important than a simple “pass/fail”.
Key Activities of Kronos UAT
1. Testing Planning
Planning for UAT should define the in-scope business processes for the key roles or personas in the organization and could include:
- Employee Persona (All): View My Timecard, Approve Punches, View My Schedule, Request Time Off, etc.
- Manager Persona: Approve Timecards, Approve/Reject Time Off Approvals, Create Schedule, Review Dashboard, etc.
- Above Location Manager Persona: Review Schedule, Approve Schedule, Review Dashboard, etc.
- Payroll: Close Payroll, Approve Leave, Apply FMLA
Pro Tip/Recommendations: You should review business processes, SOPs, project requirements, design documents, and functional test cases to map the identified use cases by role. We recommend engaging SMEs to capture all aspects of the day-to-day workflows.
As part of your UAT planning, you should also define the format (see “Approach” above), including when, where, participants, and who will lead the UAT workshops, and whether they require extensive knowledge transfer to lead the sessions?
A UAT Leader should also be selected to own the planning, preparation, and management of each phase of the UAT plan. Identify who the UAT Lead reports to and how they’ll communicate the scope and timeline. The UAT leader must understand any shifts in project scope, requirements, or timeline adjustments that will affect their work.
2. Test Case Writing and UAT Preparations
The next step involves preparing the documentation for all in-scope UAT use cases:
- Preparing the UAT test environmentand the setup of test data, including any data masking (your end-users will want to see data that is as similar as possible to real-world scenarios).
- Preparing training materialsto ensure that each UAT participant receives system training before the UAT test case execution.
- Establishing frequent touchpointswith the project team to manage dependencies and timelines, and to ensure any requirements or process changes are communicated to the test case writers and incorporated into the test suite.
- Define how to consolidate and review participant feedback, as well as the defects management process.
Pro Tip/Recommendations: In our experience, UAT participants will require one of the following to execute their assigned test cases:
- Clear documentation with screenshots of each process workflow
- Instructor-led walkthrough of each workflow step
- Video walkthroughs as reference material
You should also ensure that the build team is on hand and ready to respond to any concerns raised by the participants.
3. UAT Workshop and Test Execution
The deliverables should include a personalized training plan and materials for UAT participants, along with documented UAT test cases and process flows. A test execution plan should include:
- Identified test cases for each participant
- Test data and end-users assigned to each participant
- Timelines and expectations for feedback
- Summary of Daily UAT Status and Issues
- Consolidated Participant Feedback
Kronos UAT Best Practices
UAT is critical for the success of your initiative, but it’s a costly endeavor. Removing SMEs from regular business operations could impact your top and bottom lines. The project team must be aware of this and work as efficiently and quickly as possible.
Customers often approach us with planned UAT periods of 4 to 6 weeks. However, this is often a reflection of a poor functional and integration testing process, or a simple lack of trust in the vendor or chosen SI. In our experience, with the right approach, UAT can be performed in 1 to 2 weeks.
UAT provides the team with a clear understanding of how the Kronos WFM solution will work in practice. It tests each business process flow in the new system and helps ensure the usability and efficiency of the solution in real-world scenarios. An effective UAT also helps validate training and change management processes to ensure they are sufficient to ensure quick adoption by the field users.
UAT also provides the organization with a better understanding of how end-users will interact with Kronos WFM solution and how it will be used in the day to day operations.
Whether you’re implementing a new Kronos workforce management system, upgrading to a new version, or releasing business-driven changes, we can help.
TestAssure is committed to providing Kronos customers with test strategy, planning, and automation to help you minimize the impact of your system changes, reduce your risks, and help you move faster with confidence.
Contact us today for a test drive.