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The importance of UAT in CRM projects

author

Chris Pearson

December 30, 2014

A few years ago a well-known media company decided to announce to the world that they were splitting their business into two parts. One company would focus on the digital/streaming business and the other would focus on the physical/mail portion of the business. In addition, one of the businesses would be getting a new, rather perplexing name and the pricing structure was being modified. The public or rather, the company’s customer base, revolted.

Why did this happen? Splitting the company into two parts made sense, on paper, to the company’s leaders. Pricing needed to change to adapt to the new model and giving the new company a new name would avoid any potential brand confusion. Makes sense, right? One could say the problem stemmed from the company’s inability to see things from a viewpoint other than their own and found themselves in a PR nightmare. Ultimately, the company reversed course on all these decisions, but the damage was done.

Let’s think of how we can take these lessons and apply them to a CRM project. User Acceptance Testing or UAT is the process where end users validate that the system performs in an expected way. The purpose of UAT is to ensure that all types of users can perform the necessary duties that the system was designed to handle. We know that Finance uses CRM differently than Sales or Marketing. Therefore, our test cases and strategy need to be adapted to accommodate these different scenarios or perspectives.

In order to prevent the kind of PR nightmare (or worse) mentioned earlier from happening to you, we recommend making others a part of the UAT process. Clear communications and well understood expectations by all parties will prevent any unexpected surprises from happening. Follow these tips to ensure you maximize your UAT plan:

Testing should cover “who sees what” scenarios – this means different role and profile combinations should be validated.
Administrators shouldn’t be solely responsible for ensuring quality – identify super-users for participation and allow them to perform their normal, daily tasks.
Keep a log of any and all issues noted – you can classify them in categories such as: a) defect, b) change request or c) training issue.
Apply a mix of both structured and unstructured testing. Structured testing involves following a set of clearly documented steps with both inputs and outputs defined up front. Unstructured testing works best when users are given an objective or goal and left on their own to use the system in a way they seem fit.

UAT isn’t always everyone’s favorite activity, but with the right mix of preparation and documentation, you won’t find yourself reacting to a PR nightmare.

If your company needs help with Salesforce.com projects you can always contact us and our expert Salesforce Consultants can help you drive your project collaboratively, more efficiently and pain-free. Work Delivered.

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