Operational acceptance testing

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Operational testing a jet engine

Operational acceptance testing (OAT) is used to conduct operational readiness (pre-release) of a product, service or system as part of a quality management system. OAT is a common type of non-functional software testing, used mainly in software support and software maintenance projects. This type of testing focuses on the operational readiness of the system to be supported, or which is to become the production environment. Hence, it is also known as operational readiness testing (ORT). Functional testing of applications is not to be included or merged in OAT.

According to the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB), OAT may include checking the backup/restore facilities, IT disaster recovery procedures, maintenance tasks and periodic check of security vulnerabilities.,[1] and a White Paper on ISO 25000 and Operational Acceptance Testing by Dirk Dach et al., OAT generally includes:[2]

  • Maintainability
  • IT Service Management (Supportability)
  • Installation and Backout
  • Component Testing
  • Performance, Stress and Volume,
  • Security and Penetration
  • Backup and Restoration
  • Failover (Within the same data centre)
  • Component fail-over
  • Network fail-over
  • Recovery (across data centres)
  • Data recovery
  • Application/system recovery
  • Monitoring and Alerts (to ensure proper alerts are configured in the system if something goes wrong)

During OAT changes may be made to environmental parameters which the application uses to run smoothly. For example, with Microsoft Windows applications with a mixed or hybrid architecture, this may include: Windows services, configuration files, web services, XML files, COM+ components, web services, IIS, stored procedures in databases, etc. Typically OAT occurs after user acceptance testing (UAT), it is a final verification before a system is released.

An approach used in OAT includes these steps:

  • Build the system,
  • Deploy the application,
  • Maintainability and Supportability of the system.
  • Validate the backup and recovery procedures for the system

For running the OAT test cases, the tester normally has exclusive access to the system or environment. This means that a single tester would be executing the test cases at a single point of time. For OAT the exact OR quality gates are defined, both entry and exit gate. All activities are listed which would be part and covered in the different phases of testing, with primary emphasis be on the operational part of the system.


  1. ^ ITSQB http://istqbexamcertification.com/what-is-acceptance-testing/
  2. ^ White Paper: Operational Acceptance Testing, Business Continuity Assurance. December 2012 Dirk Dach, Dr Kai-Uwe Gawlik, Mark Mevert