Definition

A prioritised set of criteria that the solution must meet before it passes through to the next phase or goes into production in the case of customer acceptance criteria

Comment

These criteria provide an agreed target for acceptance which when achieved contractually allows testing to complete.

Experience shows that the acceptance criteria are not always the same as what the users want. The shrewd supplier has a vested interest in negotiating the criteria for acceptance to be as easy as possible.

The wise user will ensure that the acceptance criteria define the minimum requirements for successful operation. This keeps the supplier focused on delivering key functionality.

Acceptance criteria must be expressed in measurable terms (for example, ‘90% of faults are repairable in 30 minutes’). The way acceptance criteria will be tested will be specified separately in an acceptance test plan. Acceptance criteria are negotiable, typically against cost/benefit trade-offs or their impact on the potential to realise the stated benefits. Acceptance criteria should be met, or even exceeded (but beware of over-engineering issues). They can be expressed in various ways, including:

  • all priority one test cases successfully completed
  • no problem reports outstanding apart from low priority
  • plan in place for problem resolution.

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