6 Tips to Keep Writing UAT Scripts Fun

I am sure that any business analyst who has written user acceptance scripting can confirm that script writing is super detailed, critically important and mind numbingly boring.  But is it important – yes it is.  Why you ask would something so boring be important?  Well, if the business user cannot validate that the new business process or system (or both) work – then they will not sign off on the new process/system and you are left holding the bag.

It is critical that business process owners be involved with this process and can work with the actual script to validate the requirements.  You as a BA cannot sign off for the business owner – the risk if you do the sign off can be high if a critical requirement was interpreted incorrectly.  The business owner would then have every right to put a halt to any roll out of the process or system.

Currently, I am writing UAT scripts with the business owners for our team.  Three other BAs are writing UAT scripts for this large and complex project.  So how do we keep this fun, keep the motivation high and keep smiles on people’s faces?

I have employed the following tools throughout the process:

  1. The rapport I have developed with the business process owners is critical here and I have talked about this before.  The relationships require trust and understanding.
  2. Laugh – when you are through a difficult negotiation or a tough patch of scripting – joke!  Make people laugh.  Find a way to inject humour into this tense time.
  3. Feed them – lunch is a good start, but snacks are important too.  When you are locked in a room for 5 days from 8 am to 4 pm – treat people as you would want to be treated!  What’s a little sugar or salt to keep people moving forward…
  4. Take breaks – my team looked at me in amazement when I forced them to take a 20 minutes break.  We went outside, for a walk, answered some email – whatever worked but we all came back fresh and with less tension in our shoulders.
  5. Thank them very much for their ideas along the way, for their contribution at the end of each day, for all that.
  6. Have some jokes – email jokes work well – handy to share.  Even the cute ones will work depending on the audience.

For something as serious as UAT scripting – keep it light where you can and you will be successful!

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Comments

  1. Yes! All these things matter, Michelle. Some complex scripts can also cause serious peripheral-subcutaneous-neurotic-degeneration of dendrites! 🙂 lol

    It can be fun, and also a great learning activity. I dont have to elaborate on the fun part as you already have provided excellent pointers on that. It can cause a lot of learning, esp for the business users that need to get familiar with the not-so-ready system. It provides an opportunity for missed flows, a logical mental walkthrough, and most importantly sets up the stage for solution validation.

  2. Michelle Swoboda says:

    Thank you Yamo for your comments! Script writing is certainly creating a lot of learning with our team right now. It is a chance to talk over new processes and negotiate work arounds when the systems don’t work quite like you thought they would. Sounds like you have done this before!

  3. The Business Analysts where I work write UAT scripts based on the business and functional requirements; they tend not to consult with the business when developer UAT scripts until it comes time to review the plan via a review, and then we ask for signoff on the UAT plan from the business.

    Is it like this in other organizations, or are we unique? How do you justify not getting the stakeholders involved during the UAT script writing process? Is there any benefit to this approach?

  4. Michelle Swoboda says:

    Hi Eve, thank you for sharing how your business works. My previous company operated much like yours so when I started the process with this company I was pleasantly surprised. I would guess it is up to the company and how much they want the business owners to take responsibility for the systems.

  5. Curtis Michelson says:

    Michelle, thanks for this piece. UAT comes in many flavors and approaches. Can you share a little more about your company’s particular process? For example, as you sit down with the product owners, do you have a template you’re writing into, are these test scripts getting structured in any particular way, to be fed into a Fit-like system of some kind?

    And I’ll add one more item to keep it fun. Make a crazy names for characters in your stories. My only fun as a database application developer was during the testing phase, and I would need to generate some test data. I’d pull in celebrity names, serial killers, rock stars, whatever. Test data, boring as it is to enter, can be REALLY fun to enter, if you just use it as a surrogate creative writing experience. 😉

  6. Michelle Swoboda says:

    Curtis, the crazy names are the best part! We use all sorts of names like a company named Edward Bites, Drew Breez etc. Thank you for mentioning it in your comments. If it makes the next person laugh when they are reading it then it is worth it.
    You asked for more details on the structure of the scripts. We use excel with columns relating the steps back to the BRD, we then have more columns for the role of the person who performs the task, a description of how to do the task and then the outcome. We have been working with master groupings as our scripts are over 1,000 lines. This week I have been formatting them to go into QC where we will perform the tests.