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Acceptance Criteria Vs Acceptance Test


Software testing life cycle is an amalgamation of miscellaneous activities, some of which are usually confused by the team of testers and are used interchangeably. Acceptance Criteria and Acceptance Test are two such activities, which are often confused by new and inexperienced software testers. Even though the difference between these two techniques is quite apparent, provided below is a detailed differentiation of acceptance criteria and acceptance test.

What is Acceptance Criteria?

Often overlooked and undervalued by software testers, the acceptance criteria consists of various predefined requirements and conditions, which are required to be met and accomplished, to make the software acceptable for end users and customers. Acceptance criteria validates the development of the software as well as ensures that it fulfills its expected purpose, without any hindrance or issue.

In short, acceptance criteria can be termed as a validation technique, which ascertains every aspect of the functional and nonfunctional requirements of the software and ensures that it meets the specified acceptance criteria accurately.

Areas Covered by Acceptance Criteria:

Acceptance criteria for a software covers three major components- functional, non-functional, and performance criteria. All these help validate the effectiveness and efficiency of the software and enable the team to build a software that offers remarkable functionality and delivers optimum services.

  • Functional Criteria : This criteria helps define the functional as well as business tasks of the software and ensures its compliance with the stated requirements.
  • Non-Functional Criteria: The non-functional criteria mainly deals with the design requirements of the software and validate its accuracy.
  • Performance Criteria: With the assistance of performance criteria, the team can define the response time required from a software product, when a query is inserted in it.

Uses of Acceptance Criteria:

A significant part of software development and testing process, acceptance criteria helps develop a software that meets all the requirements stated by the client before the inception of the process. Moreover, it is used by both software developers and testers to validate the functionality and performance of the software. Other uses of acceptance criteria are:

  • It is used to define the boundaries for software development.
  • With the assistance of acceptance criteria, the team can easily reach to a consensus regarding the requirements for software development with the client as well as other stakeholders of the project.
  • It serves as the basis for software testing, as the team is able to validate the performance and effectiveness of the software through the specified acceptance criteria.
  • Additionally, acceptance criteria allows accurate planning and estimation, which further simplifies the process of development and testing.

What is Acceptance Test?

Acceptance testing is a salient testing technique, which is executed after the culmination of software testing process and prior to the release of the software in the market. It ensures compliance of the software with the stated requirements and validates its quality. Performed at client’s or user’s site, this type of testing ensure optimum user experience and is executed once unit testing, integration testing and system testing is completed. Moreover, this type of testing makes sure that the software fulfills the acceptance criteria and delivers expected services.

Types of Acceptance Test:

Acceptance testing can be categorized into six types, each of which is focused on testing different components and features of the software. These types of acceptance testing are:

  1. Alpha Testing: Named after the first Greek alphabet, alpha testing is takes place at the developer’s site and is mainly performed by the internal employees of the organization to validate quality of the end product.
  2. Beta Testing: This type of acceptance testing is performed by a selected group of users to validate the reliability, usability, functionality, and other important features of the software.
  3. User Acceptance Test: As suggested by its name, this type of acceptance test is conducted by the team to ensure its quality and performance.
  4. Operational Acceptance Test: It is executed to ensure the accuracy of the processes and procedures, while validating that the system can be used and maintained as per the expectations of the client.
  5. Contract Acceptance: During this type of testing, the system is tested as per the acceptance criteria to ensure its accuracy.
  6. Compliance Acceptance Test: This type of acceptance test ensures the compliance of the system with the stated requirements and specifications as well as various international standards.

Purpose of Acceptance Test:

The main objective of acceptance testing is to ensure the quality of the software and to validate that no defects are left unresolved, which can hamper the performance as well as the functionality of the software. Other reasons for performing acceptance testing are:

  • The purpose of this testing is to establish confidence in the system.
  • To find any defects, error, bugs, or any other discrepancies, which can be a cause of system’s failure.
  • Ensures the quality and effectiveness of the software before it is delivered to the end users.
  • Validates that the software is developed as per the requirements of the client or other stakeholders.

Difference between Acceptance criteria and Acceptance test or Acceptance criteria vs Acceptnace test

From the above discussion, we can easily understand that acceptance criteria and acceptance test, though interrelated, are not interchangeable and are two different processes. To highlight this fact, below are the features and characteristics of these two processes:

Acceptance Criteria Acceptance Test
1. It is either written by the client or by the development team. 1. It is performed by the user or customer.
2. These are the predefined conditions and requirements that are achieved to develop a successful product. 2. Performed after the completion of unit, integration, and system testing.
3. Defines what needs to be done during the process of development and testing. 3. Acceptance test is derived from acceptance criteria.
4. Defines the behaviour of the system. 4. States how the testing needs to be done.
5. It requires minimum to zero amount of documentation. 5. It captures user requirements in a directly verifiable way.
6. Prepared during the planning phase of the software and prior to the development phase. 6. Black box testing is used for acceptance testing, which means it is not scripted, but is ad-hoc.
7. Validates that the software works as per the expectation of the client. 7. It is implemented in the development phase.
8. Can be termed as a type of validation process. 8. This type of testing requires detailed documentation and reports.
9. Ensures that the team is aware of when they are completed with the user story. 9. Used as regression test prior to the release of the software.
10. Monitors the process of software development and testing. 10. Quality assurance plays an important role in this type of testing.
11. Validates higher level of customer satisfaction. 11. The code is implemented either by the developers or the testers.
12. These are required to be short and concise. 12. Ensures the quality, reliability, usability, functionality, as well as the performance of the software.

Conclusion :

Both, acceptance criteria and acceptance test, are an integral part of software development and testing. They assist the team to create a software that meets the requirements and specifications, defined by the client or other stakeholders of the project. Moreover, it verifies that the end product delivers expected results and services. Hence, with the assistance of these two, an organization can guarantee the success of their software product.