The Importance of Clearly Defined Acceptance Criteria
Accurately defining a client’s Acceptance Criteria is one of the most important elements of a successful development project. Microsoft Press defines Acceptance Criteria as “Conditions that a software product must satisfy to be accepted by a user, customer or other stakeholder.” Google defines it as “Pre-established standards or requirements a product or project must meet.” No matter how you define it, clear Acceptance Criteria are critical to the success of a project.
Clients often have a hard time defining Acceptance Criteria before the start of a project. But at the close of a project, these clients have no problem defining what’s missing or wrong. Inaccurate or missing Acceptance Criteria can lead to low customer satisfaction levels, missed delivery dates and development cost overruns. That’s why it’s so critical to accurately define them before any work begins.
Software development projects will succeed or fail based on your ability to meet your clients’ documented and perceived Acceptance Criteria. They should always be included as part of the requirements documentation, so be sure to write them down early and refer to them often. By taking the time up front to do this, you accomplish two key project and customer service tasks.
1. You set the client’s expectation level and lay the groundwork for their perception of the completed product.
2. You take an important step toward protecting your company and your client.
Acceptance Criteria should not be a re-hash of the requirements document and should include:
When you clearly define Acceptance Criteria up front, you avoid surprises at the end of a project and ensure a higher level of customer satisfaction. So, take the time with a client to determine what will define their project as successful and complete.
Leave a Reply