Preloader Image
pencil tip

Put Your New CRM to the Test: User Acceptance Testing

By: Rob Jordan


You’ve been working for the better part of a year to implement Salesforce. Your team members have worked hard on the project. The organization has made critical investments. You’ve had a lot of internal meetings. And even more meetings with your consultants and developers. Finally, development is complete and all that remains is one more thing, user acceptance testing (UAT).

After working in technology for a long time, we’ve seen this cycle of enthusiasm and investment time and again. And we’re here to help you get motivated to tackle the last big to-do, UAT, before you fully launch Salesforce.

User acceptance testing is not only a way to find any procedural issues and reduce the risk of building solutions you won’t use, but it’s also a great way to get resistant employees excited and involved with the new system. It’s also a way to truly show off your team's hard work and get everyone ready for its implementation.

Let’s review how to pick your UAT team, set expectations, and create the right tools to make UAT work smoothly for your organization.


Pick your team

The beauty of a well-run UAT process is that the users who participate get to learn how to use the system before organization-wide formal training. If your project is using an agile methodology, Salesforce will be presented to your team while it’s still evolving. The users will build a deeper knowledge of why the system was built and how to make it work better. When new users begin training, these UAT participants will be positioned to be resources for others, so it’s essential you choose UAT members who are good at thinking critically and teaching others.

UAT should be led by super users - they will become their department go to, especially for those people who are not comfortable in the system.

Testing out the real-world use of your solution and potentially finding (and fixing!) problems should be embraced. Doing this will help make the final outcome a strong system that is tightly aligned with your business processes and truly speak to users’ needs.


Set clear expectations

Selecting and preparing the “right” users to be involved with UAT is very important. So is setting clear expectations with those users. As users will be required to test in an imperfect environment, make sure this is communicated and let them know a feedback procedure will be set up.

Communicating that UAT is there to help create the most efficient Salesforce outcome may make participants more willing to explore and to take the time to learn what they’re testing. Let them know it’s good to find bugs or issues during this UAT.

As the users get ready to start testing, it’s important that they know what to test and how the new solution has been built. By providing users with a description of the functionality and how it is intended to work, you give them a head start in getting down to business and seeing if they can actually use the tool as it’s intended. We use user stories and test scripts with most Idealist Consulting projects to organize the testing process.

If a project team launches UAT without providing some guidance on how the solution is used, it will invariably end with frustrated users that have doubts about their ability to use the new solution, and they’ll probably share their doubts with their coworkers and colleagues. This can be avoided if you provide them with the right instructions and resources up front.


Provide useful feedback tools

When the users get down to business and start generating feedback and questions for the project team, they will need a good method for doing so. User acceptance testing can be a very subjective experience if observations and issues are not documented in an objective manner. Providing UAT testers with a method and set of guidelines for clearly describing issues will limit communication misunderstanding and cut back on issues that “cannot be reproduced”.

There are many tools out there that can work for UAT communications (we have a proprietary Salesforce app we use with clients called Idealist Story Navigator). Depending on the size of your project, a structured spreadsheet may be just what is needed. Protocols should include the following details:

  • Guidelines for documenting issues
  • Steps to reproduce the issue
  • Clear protocols for assigning issues to the project team
  • Guidelines to communicate fixes or reassignment of issues
  • Process for issue resolution acceptance

Regardless of what tool you use to manage UAT, remember that you can use these tools moving forward to track product backlogs and make continual improvements to Salesforce in a structured way. This will increase your own ownership of your Salesforce instance.


Managing and prioritizing new or changed requirements

Finally, during testing, users will invariably determine that there is additional functionality that is required or changes to previously defined requirements. This is normal. The success of the overall project will be determined by your UAT and development team communicating these new requirements, assessing their impact, and prioritizing all requirements. By pre-defining the process to perform this evaluation and designating authority to key team members, your team will be better equipped to handle project change requests. This will be a key element of keeping your Salesforce project team aware of critical functionality and keep it on track to deliver the features that are most important to your organization.


Embrace the challenge

During this process, you have invested so much in finding a tool to make your organization more efficient and effective - embrace the experience and let it teach you how to be a stronger team. Setting up the right team and set of protocols is key. Furthermore, testing can be vital in getting your team members throughout the organization excited for the new solution and will put you on the path towards getting an adopted solution that works for your users and your processes. Be sure that your consultant has strong UAT processes in place.

Want to learn more about preparing for a successful Salesforce launch? We put together a whitepaper filled with tips on effective strategies for Salesforce implementation.

Click below to download a copy of our whitepaper "Be Prepared Not Scared: Strategies for Technology Change".

Download the whitepaper


Newsletter Earth

Subscribe to our newsletter

Where nonprofit organizations get inspired

Join thousands just like you to receive a monthly dose of user adoption tips, innovation, and industry trends.