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Software Testing 101: Acceptance Testing

Acceptance testing is a relatively misunderstood software testing concept for those just starting out in their ISEB Foundation / ISTQB Foundation (CTFL) studies, so I thought it would be worthwhile to write a quick & dirty overview of what exactly it is.

Acceptance testing is typically (although not always) the final stage of testing prior to a software application’s general release to the public.  It is normally a black box testing method that aims to assess whether or not the software application is ready to be released to end-users.

If the company in question outsourced the development of the software to a third party, then acceptance testing is absolutely critical.  It is the company’s responsibility to conduct the acceptance testing prior to making the software available to its customers to ensure that the software was produced correctly.  The test cases in this scenario can be crafted by either the third party developer or the company.

There are several subcategories of acceptance testing.  User Acceptance Testing (UAT) refers to acceptance testing that is done by the actual end-users.  This is typically the last verification needed to declare that the software application is ready for prime time.  This is also known as Customer Acceptance Testing (CAT) in the case of outsourced development work.

Operational Acceptance Testing (also known as operational readiness testing) focuses on the processes that admin users might conduct, such as employees who plug security gaps, execute system maintenance tasks, configure for disaster recovery, etc.

Contract Acceptance Testing focuses on testing items that have been documented within the formal contact between the company and the outsourced developer.  A similar subcategory is Regulation Acceptance Testing, which aims to make sure that any applicable safety or governmental regulations are complied with.  Finally, alpha and beta testing can also be considered part of the overall acceptance testing category.

I hope you found this brief overview of acceptance testing to be both helpful and informative.  Until next time, happy testing!

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