Operational Acceptance Testing or Operational Testing

Operational testing
From constantly monitoring various processes to adopting several software testing techniques, software engineers use a variety of methodologies and procedures to ensure the quality, performance, as well as the operational readiness of the product. Operational Testing (OAT) is one such testing technique used by the team before the software system is released in the market. Therefore, to define its significance in Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), following is a discussion on the same.

What is Operational Testing?

A prominent part of SDLC, operational testing is a critical evaluation done by the team of testers to verify the operational readiness of a software product. Performed during the last stage of software testing, this evaluation can be termed as the final verification before a system is released in the production environment.

Commonly known as Operational Acceptance Testing (OAT), operational testing addresses the non-functional attributes of the software, where in functional testing is only limited to verifying these non-functional aspects.

Moreover, OAT occurs after the User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and is performed in a testing environment that is similar to the Production Assurance Test environment.

Features of Operational Acceptance Testing:

There are several aspects that makes operational acceptance testing an integral part of development life cycle. Some of these features are mentioned below:

  • Also known as Operational Readiness Testing (ORT) and Operational Readiness & Assurance Testing (OR&A).
  • It is a part of Quality Management System.
  • Used in software development and software maintenance projects.
  • It is a non-functional type of testing.
  • It is performed after User Acceptance Testing (UAT).
  • Verifies the operational readiness of the system.
  • Performed before the release of the product.
  • Conducts error detection, which further ensures correct functional implementation.

Reasons for Operational Acceptance Testing:

From checking the backups and restore facilities to performing IT disaster recovery procedures and maintenance tasks, operational acceptance testing offers great benefits to the software engineers as well as the client. However, the reasons for performing OAT test is not limited to these points. Some of the other reasons for performing operational acceptance testing are:

  • Helps in bringing together the components of software configurations and operational support.
  • Enables the team to determine whether or not the application is suitable for deployment on the network.
  • Validates the expected functionality, operability, and reliability of the software product.
  • It tests the implementation and structural changes to the software in a functional and non-functional environment.

Types of Operational Acceptance Testing:

To ensure the readiness as well as operability of the software product, operational acceptance testing performs various types of testing, which are:

  1. Component Testing:Also known as module, unit, or program testing, component testing tests each component of the application separately to find defects and to validate the functionality of the product.
  2. Failover Testing: This type of testing is mainly concerned with validating the product’s ability to be able to allocate resources and to move operations to backup systems. It ensures proper working of redundancy.
  3. Functional Stability: During this type of testing, the team is focused on ensuring the accessibility, stability, usability, and conversion of the software product.
  4. IT Service Management: Here, the team is busy in validating the supportability of the software product.
  5. Monitoring & Alerts: This type of testing ensures that proper alters are being displayed and configured in the system if any issue or defects is encountered by the users.
  6. Portability: To ensure the compatibility, interoperability, installation & backout, and localization of the product, the team performs portability testing, which is focused on validating these aspects of the product.
  7. Recovery Testing: The main objective of this type of testing is to ensure application and data recovery across all data centers, if there is any security breach or disaster.
  8. Reliability: Another important aspect that is validated by operational acceptance testing is product reliability. This is done with the assistance of backup & restoration; disaster recovery; maintainability; performance, stress, and volume testing; security and penetration testing, etc.

Approaches of Operational Acceptance Testing:

Typically OAT is performed with the assistance of various approaches, which further guarantees that the entire configuration on the product is done accurately. Hence, listed below are some of these approaches.

  • System Designing & Assessment.
  • Build System.
  • Confirm if Built to Design.
  • Evaluation.
  • Compliance Assessment.
  • Deployment.
  • Operability & Supportability Assessment.

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Operational Acceptance Testing Process:

Since the importance of operational acceptance testing is immense in SDLC, it is vital for the team to perform the process of operational acceptance testing thoroughly and accurately.

Therefore, to help you ensure this accuracy of the process, provided here are the steps involved in operational acceptance testing.

  • Test Plan: Before initiating the process of operational testing, the team should prepare a test plan that offers details about which test will be conducted as well as their entry and exit criteria.
  • Develop Test Scripts: Once the test plan is prepared, develop test scripts on the basis of hardware and software requirements, as well as the requirements stated by the client.
  • Test Execution: During this step of the process, test is executed by the team based on the established test scripts.
  • Data Collection: The results of the test should be collected simultaneously while the process of testing is executed. This enhances the speed of product evaluation.
  • Data Analysis: Finally, the results recorded by the team in the previous stage is compared with the exit criteria to determine the operational readiness of the software.

Advantages of Operational Acceptance Testing:

Though performed during the last stage of software testing life cycle (STLC), Operational Acceptance Testing offer remarkable advantages to the team as well as other stakeholders of the project. Some of these advantages are:

  • Allows feature interaction.
  • It considers environmental factors that impact the system behavior, which further improves the quality of the end product.
  • Validates various aspects of the product before its release, which ensures optimum user experience.
  • Offers assistance with backup and restore facilities, disaster recovery, operational support, maintenance tasks, and more.
  • Checks the software product for security vulnerabilities.

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Therefore, from the above discussion, we can conclude that the importance of operational acceptance testing is monumental in software development life cycle and that it plays an equally important role in validating the operational readiness of the product. In short, by implementing operational acceptance testing, the team can validate the quality of the product as well as ensure optimum user experience.

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