What is Operational Acceptance Testing (OAT)? Example Test Cases

Operational Acceptance Testing (OAT) or Operational Testing is non-functional testing conducted before releasing an application to the production stage. It comes after the user acceptance testing and before releasing the app in the market. The primary purpose of this testing is to check the operational readiness of application software.

The whole process comprises of a series of tasks such as −

  • Installation testing
  • Robustness of the app
  • Data integrity
  • Code analysis
  • Security testing
  • Network installation
  • Recovery testing
  • Procedure verifications like security, support, alerts, and stress

The Importance of Operational Testing

Regardless of how much time and money you spend in testing software, it doesn't ensure 100 reliability, robustness, and error-free. Testing software in a predefined environment doesn't ensure it will work the same in real-world settings.

The launch of MS Vista is the perfect example of this. Users experience several performance and compatibility issues after using it. As a result, the launch became a failure, giving a lifelong lesson to Microsoft not to release a product before it's ready.

If you skip the OAT and release the software in the market looming with bugs, then it can result in commercial failure and hamper the business's image to an extreme.

Bugs can cause significant stability and maintenance issues causing the app to crash inadvertently, or worse, it can hang the whole device. This can cause intense frustration among users, preventing them from using the app ever again.

Therefore, skipping the operational acceptance testing process is not an option at all.

Types of Operational Acceptance Testing

The types of operational acceptance testing are

  • Backup and Restore Testing
  • Code Analysis
  • End-to-End Test Environment Operational Testing
  • Failover Testing
  • Installation Testing
  • Load Testing
  • Operational Documentation Review
  • Performance Testing
  • Recovery Testing
  • Security Testing
  • SLA (Service Level Agreement) Monitoring Test

Various Uses of Operational Testing

Although conducted at the last stage of the STLC, OAT brings a myriad of advantages for the testing team and stakeholders.

All types of functional or structural changes implemented in the software are tested to ensure it doesn't affect the production services.

  • It tells you whether the app can perform a failback in case the failover is invoked.

  • It helps you verify that the software is all set to be deployed to the network while staying compliant with IT infrastructure Library Standards.

  • It informs if the app can generate threshold monitoring alerts when maintained thresholds are exceeded.

  • It ensures that the operating system and data can be successfully restored if something went wrong.

  • It helps you to be sure that using the application won't hamper any installation. Meaning, users can install a new app while using your app.

  • It makes sure switching off or restarting the system doesn't disrupt the app's service.

  • It confirms that the application can easily be modified in the future without any major risks

The level of operational acceptance testing differs as per the need of a business. To do so, you need to undergo change-driven risk management (CDRM) process to determine the scale of importance of this test for your business. This will strengthen the risk identification factor and make the whole process much more efficient.

Operational Testing Approaches

The operational testing process can be conducted using different approaches – Automated and Manual. This entirely depends upon one's specific needs.

Automated testing

Automated tests are executed through software solutions. This gives you enough room to set a particular time and date to launch the test. Plus, you can compare the test results with the expected results and document the errors that need to be addressed.

Although implementing an automatic test often takes up a huge part of your time and resources, but it shows more promising and efficient results in the long run. This works great during processes when you have to continuously repeat the test, especially involving a large volume of data.

Manual Testing

Manual testing is handled by an experienced tester that involves assessing the system, app, websites, etc., manually with the lens of end-users. You can execute manual testing through the exploratory or scenario-based methodology.

  • Scenario-based test − It is conducted by following a precise testing script to follow each step with utmost accuracy.

  • Exploratory Test − This is done when the tester lacks a testing script. When that happens, testers need to follow a systematic approach to assess the performance, ergonomics, design, customer's journey, etc.

Is Operation Acceptance Testing a Manual or Automated process?

It goes without saying, clients and users expect a flawless product during the release. However, the problem doesn't end there. Organizations must release updates to enhance user experience and fix existing bugs. Therefore, the application needs to stay ready for updates, ensure it doesn't show functional or utility issues after an update.

Since applications nowadays are constantly updated and improved, manually doing it can be daunting and exhausting. Therefore, automating OAT is highly recommended over-processing it manually. You can do OAT manually, but we rarely recommend it due to its heavy time and effort consumption.

Operational Test Process

Step 1 – Checking the resource − Hiring a qualified remains your priority as a testing engineer. Make sure your staff is qualified enough to plan and execute the test campaign. Also, evaluate the time it requires to develop a testing script followed by checking your testing devices.

Step 2 – Writing the test script − You need to write a predefined test script detailing the test scenarios you plan to execute. This usually consists of a document or a series of steps integrated with a bug tracker.

Step 3 – Executing the testing phases − Both manual and automated methods are applicable in operational testing. However, an automated process seems more time-efficient and plausible. You can execute the test via a testing lab or through a crowd testing community.

Step 4 – Monitoring bug fixes − Document all the bugs uncovered during the testing process and assign the bug fixes appropriated among developers, project managers, and testers. Processing bugs can be a highly critical and time-consuming task. Using a management tool is highly recommended.


Operational Acceptance Testing is an integral part of the software testing cycle that determines whether the time has launched the product to the end-user. Will they accept the product or not. Will the users be happy to use the software application? To conclude, an OAT answers all the questions and qualms of the business before launching the final product in the market.

Updated on: 19-Aug-2021

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