Operational acceptance testing

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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 development and software maintenance projects. This type of testing focuses on the operational readiness of the system to be supported, and/or to become part of the production environment. Hence, it is also known as operational readiness testing (ORT) or operations readiness and assurance testing (OR&A). Functional testing within OAT is limited to those tests which are required to verify the non-functional aspects of the system.

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 whitepapers on ISO 29119 and Operational Acceptance by Anthony Woods,[2] and ISO 25000 and Operational Acceptance Testing by Dirk Dach et al., OAT generally includes:[3]

  • Component Testing
  • Failover (Within the same data centre)
  • Component fail-over
  • Network fail-over
  • Functional Stability
  • Accessibility
  • Conversion
  • Stability
  • Usability
  • IT Service Management (Supportability)
  • Monitoring and Alerts (to ensure proper alerts are configured in the system if something goes wrong)
  • Portability
  • Compatibility
  • Interoperability
  • Installation and Backout
  • Localization
  • Recovery (across data centres)
  • Application/system recovery
  • Data recovery
  • Reliability
  • Backup and Restoration (Recovery)
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Maintainability
  • Performance, Stress and Volume,
  • Procedures (Operability) and Supporting Documentation (Supportability)
  • Security and Penetration

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 should occur after each main phase of the development life cycle: design, build, and functional testing. In sequential projects it is often viewed as a final verification before a system is released; where in agile and iterative projects, a more frequent execution of OAT occurs providing stakeholders with assurance of continued stability of the system and its operating environment.

An approach used in OAT may follow these steps:

  • Design the system,
  • Assess the design,
  • Build the system,
  • Confirm if built to design,
  • Evaluate the system addresses business functional requirements,
  • Assess the system for compliance with non-functional requirements,
  • Deploy the system,
  • Assess operability and supportability of 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 Operational Readiness quality gates are defined: both entry and exit gates. The primary emphasis of OAT should be on the operational stability, portability and reliability of the system.


  1. ^ ISTQB http://istqbexamcertification.com/what-is-acceptance-testing/
  2. ^ Anthony Woods (2015). "Operational Acceptance - an application of the ISO 29119 Software Testing standard". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ White Paper: Operational Acceptance Testing, Business Continuity Assurance. December 2012 Dirk Dach, Dr Kai-Uwe Gawlik, Mark Mevert