The purpose of the Conference Room Pilot is to validate a software application against the business processes of end-users of the software, by allowing end-users to use the software to carry out typical or key business processes using the new software. The term is most commonly used in the context of 'out of the box' (OOTB) or 'commercial off-the-shelf' software (COTS).
A commercial advantage of a Conference Room Pilot is that it may allow the customer to prove that the new software will do the job (meets business requirements and expectations) before committing to buying the software, thus avoiding buying an inappropriate application.
A Conference Room Pilot shares some features of User Acceptance Testing (UAT). Shared features are:
Test scripts for end-to-end business processes are used
Non-functional tests (e.g. performance testing)
Differences between a Conference Room Pilot and a formal UAT:
It is attempting to identify how well the application meets business needs, and identify gaps, whilst still in the design phase of the project
There is an expectation that changes will be required before acceptance of the solution
The software is ‘on trial’ and may be rejected completely in favour of another solution.
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