Planning an ERP implementation is a daunting task. Budgets, timelines, integrations and requirements all need to be discussed, mapped, collected and agreed upon. When you’re looking at a forest, it’s easy to forget the trees and when you’re working with software it’s easy to forget the users. That’s why we believe that user acceptance testing is the secret to a
User acceptance testing is the process of getting business users to test common scenarios and daily tasks within the ERP system prior to the go-live date. It has some definite benefits that reduce cost, shorten timelines and minimize the odds that your implementation will fail due to lack of user adoption. That’s why we’re going to share some of the testing lessons we’ve learned.
Consultants Aren’t Users
Consultants and developers are great at what they do, but they’re probably not great at what your users do. That’s why getting your users involved at the testing phase is so important. They’re going to recognize inefficient process or bad usability decisions in places consultants or developers may not think to look.
Remember, this process is going to happen either way. It’s just easier on everybody involved to deal with suggestions during implementation than complaints once the system is live.
Engagement Builds Adoption
We’ve already established that lack of adoption is an implementation killer. That’s why you should do everything you can to build buy-in before the go-live date. User acceptance testing is a great way to engage the team while improving the finished product. Those improvements are not only going to make the system easier to use, which increases the odds of adoption, but it’s also incredibly empowering for your team to see a major project being modified based on their feedback.
Remember, it’s easy to criticize something you weren’t involved with. Get the team engaged and they’ll take some responsibility for the outcome.
Planning Pays Off
It’s tempting to hand out logins, tell the users to go nuts and call it user acceptance testing. It’s also the wrong way to go about it. You need to make sure you’re testing at the right time and testing what really matters.
User acceptance testing should happen after QA testing but before user training and go-live. If you test too early your users won’t know what is normal system behavior and what’s a bug. If you test too late you’re beyond the point where it’s easy and cost-effective to make changes.
Finally, you need to develop a test script based on the activities your users perform on a daily basis. You’ll need different scripts for different roles and you should be clear about the expected outcome of each process. If you don’t test in this manner you’ll get comments about color schemes and font sizes rather than meaningful business process improvements.
If you want more advice to improve your odds of ERP success, check out the
- Cody Pierson, Prophet Business Group -