Can I Use Microsoft Test Manager for User Acceptance Tests?

Microsoft Visual Studio Test Professional 2010 Box

That answer is a resoundingly yes, in my opinion, and I believe you would find some real value in having your UAT testers using Microsoft Test Manager to perform those UAT tests.  However, I think the real question that should be asked is do you have to purchase a license for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Test Professional to use Microsoft Test Manager to perform those User Acceptance Tests (UAT?)



What are you talking about, Ed? 

There is a licensing exclusion that exists that really helps out when business users connect to development/test environments to perform user acceptance testing.  This exclusion really kicks in and helps when those development/test servers have used Operating Systems, SQL  Server, etc. licenses that conform to the MSDN EULA.  The exclusion basically says those non-technical business users don’t require an MSDN subscription to connect to those development/test servers if they are only performing user acceptance tests.  Normally, each person who connects to a development/test environment that has MSDN software installed on it (like the OS) requires that each of them has an active MSDN subscription.

Here’s the full description directly from the Visual Studio 2010 Licensing Whitepaper:

User Acceptance Testing

At the end of a software development project, end users (or team members acting as proxies for end users) typically review an application and determine whether it meets the necessary criteria for release—a process sometimes called user acceptance testing or UAT. MSDN software may be accessed by end users who do not have MSDN subscriptions for purposes of acceptance testing, provided that the use of the software otherwise complies with all MSDN licensing terms.

Under MSDN subscription licenses, user acceptance testing must not use live production data. If a copy of any live production data is used, then that copy of the data must be discarded after the testing is complete and cannot be incorporated back into the live production data.

So back to the real question…


Do you have to purchase a license to use Microsoft Test Manager to perform UAT?

Well that’s the question that a client brought up.  Did they have to purchase a license of at least Visual Studio 2010 Test Professional for those business users if they wanted to use Microsoft Test Manager to perform the UAT tests?

Microsoft’s answer is:  Yes

The fact that you are using Microsoft Test Manager, in their opinion, is that you are doing more technical & formalized testing than what they would consider to be in the UAT licensing exclusion for MSDN software.


Ed Blankenship

Thursday, 11 October 2012 13:57:36 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
Would the answer be "No" then if data used inside of UAT is 'dummy data' or 'John Doe' records? We want to use UAT as 'kick the tires' session for our business partners and see the benefit of having them trace through a test case using MTM.
Jason Morillo
Thursday, 11 October 2012 14:06:20 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
Hi Jason,

It has more to do with the fact that by using Microsoft Test Manager at all, you are doing more structured testing than would normally be considered as User Acceptance Testing. Structured testing like exploratory testing, manual testing with a manual test runner, or automated testing would not be considered User Acceptance Testing in terms of the licensing exclusion available for software available in an MSDN subscription.
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 06:51:25 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
Hi Ed,

Has Microsoft's stance changed on this since your post was published?

Requiring our UAT testers to have VS Test Pro with MSDN subscriptions is a little overkill if all they want to do is record their steps and findings to TFS. Isn't a TFS CAL sufficient for this UAT use?


Ioannis Vasiliou
Ioannis Vasiliou
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 09:44:06 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
Hi Ioannis,

This hasn't changed for Team Foundation Server. There is an option for Visual Studio Online customers though which allows them to get the test case management & execution capabilities in web access as part of the monthly Visual Studio Online Advanced plan. This was a recent change made during the summer of this year.
Thursday, 09 October 2014 01:27:26 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
Thanks Ed.

Just to clarify, are these VS Online users given a license to use our on-premise TFS with the 'Full' access level? i.e. they have the rights to access the test hub on our on-premise TFS Team Web Access?

Thanks again
Ioannis Vasiliou
Thursday, 09 October 2014 08:40:46 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
Hi Ioannis,

That's incorrect. Having a Visual Studio Online license for a user doesn't grant them licensing rights to use Team Foundation Server on-premises. It's scoped to usage in that Visual Studio Online account.
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