Monthly Archives: February 2014

Acceptance Criteria

One technique that can help stakeholders to think through and visualize what they are really looking for in a finished system is to define a set of acceptance criteria test scenarios. This is most effective after initial requirements elicitation has been completed, documented, and reviewed. This is essentially a form of prototyping, rehearsal, or exercising user stories by persona looking for greater insight.

A simple example is a website that provides various user services:

  • Buy an item online with credit card or PayPal; see transaction confirmation in account(s) and via email.
  • Register for an event; receive email confirmation, ticket information, ability to print ticket, etc.
  • Sign-up for an email or newsletter service; receive email confirmation, integration with mailing service or CRM system.

For each user story scenario, we can ask a series of questions:

  • What else? may include reporting, dashboard integration, inventory update, etc.
  • Where can we improve? Frustrations that might be expected that we can work through to re-design?

This is a structured opportunity for divergent and open exploration of what the product, service, or change will look and feel like after implementation is complete. When we’re done, what will we really have done? It can also help identify issues that should be treated as a complete project or major WBS component. Many other test scenarios and questions can be devised enabling a detailed walk through of the end-user experience of the final product.

Other Potential Benefits:

  • A more comprehensive procurement plan
  • Deeper understanding of business processes
  • Identify roles that exist or need to be created to support operational work
    • Organization change
    • Training
    • Subject matter experts required to support new technologies