While obvious to the most seasoned Quality Assurance Analysts and HEAT ISM Consultants, the gathering of UAT Sample Data can be confusing to some and is often poorly documented and executed.
Having the right sample data is key to successful User Acceptance Testing (UAT).
The worst thing you can do is test milli-vanilli and only make up input data without using real data. Using made-up sample data can be confusing to UAT Testers, difficult to follow, and lead to false test results.
UAT is all about validating business requirements and confirming that you can perform your day to day job functions. So why would you want to use some made up data? You don’t. You want to use real live actual data to verify that the new system or feature behaves exactly like your old system, whether HEAT Classic, another software system, Excel, manual forms, legacy application, and so on. In my 25+ years of Ivanti HEAT ISM Implementations I have not come across an implementation that didn’t have some sort of tracking tool or method, spreadsheet, or other artifact that can be used as sample data. Even handwritten logs could make up sample data, and I don’t remember the last time I have seen one of those.
Sample input data should be real data, from your existing system, whether it’s a database, excel sheet, paper forms, or another system or artifact. For example tickets from your old HEAT Classic system, Paper Forms from a manual system (Invoices, Logs, etc), if you’re going digital, or sample rows from an Excel sheet if that’s what you’re replacing. These are just some examples.
Tip: Create a “complete workflow” artifacts of examples from start to finish in the process. One of my clients recently added procurement workflows to the Ivanti HEAT System and created a PDF of sample data for the relevant process, from inception of the procurement request, approval, quote, shipment, receipt, asset tagging, stock administration, invoice, and payment. The artifact was through and included sample data from every step. Some digital, others print outs, and even handwritten notes on the invoices. All of which were important sample data for User Acceptance Testing. It was a one time effort by the Subject Matter Expert (SME) and was invaluable throughout UAT, Training, and overall for discussion purposes. Intangibles were positive user morale, adoption, and a clear understanding of UAT Testers as to what data to use and how the new system would benefit them relating back to how they were doing things before and how that was going to change in the new way of doing things. In other words, the sample data artifacts were valuable Training Knowledge and used for review and discussion purposes, and during ongoing UAT Status Calls and meetings.
Bottom line, use real data that represents the typical type of data to expect and the UAT Team members can relate to. Tip: Ask yourself if the data could be used for training purposes. If it can, then include it as an artifact for training documentation. If it can’t, then ask yourself if the sample data is a good representation of a typical day in the life of the end user.
Furthermore, keep in mind that when there are changes, upgrades, or issues, you will want to have sample UAT Test Data to fall back to.