What is acceptance criteria?

Acceptance criteria are sometimes referred to as the “definition of done” since they specify the scope and requirements that developers must complete before the user narrative can be considered complete.

Who writes the acceptance criteria?

The product owner or manager is usually in charge of writing acceptance criteria or at the very least encouraging the conversation. The goal is to guarantee that the specifications are designed with the client’s needs in mind, and who better understands consumer demands than a product manager?

However, Almost anybody on the cross-functional team might write acceptance criteria for user stories. It is usually advised that establishing acceptance criteria be done as a collective effort involving both developers and quality assurance personnel.

Most of the time, the acceptance criteria are developed by the client and then agreed upon by the project team. Most importantly, though, the most effective measures will be developed in partnership, with both parties contributing to the process and coming to an agreement on the necessary scope and requirements of the project.

Then, if applicable, the acceptance criteria should be agreed upon by both the development team and the client. Even better, if you are developing a product or software solution on behalf of a client, the process of establishing the criteria should be a collaborative effort.

The Importance of Acceptance Criteria

Setting acceptance criteria at the beginning of a project can help it run more smoothly from start to finish. For example, these criteria help to improve the following processes:

Defining your limits

Acceptance criteria are essential tools for keeping a development team on track and defining the scope of a project. In addition to determining the limitations and boundaries of a user narrative, they also enable teams to confirm whether a product is functioning correctly or when a piece of software performs the user’s function.

Getting to an accord

A set of clearly defined criteria is, more or less, an agreement between the team and the client about the product’s role and when it can be considered ‘completed’ or ‘completed and finished.’ To minimize any misunderstandings or confusion, solid acceptance criteria must be in place to ensure that everyone is working from the same page.


Organizing your time successfully

Acceptance criteria serve as a framework for the user story and a straightforward method of breaking down a project into individual tasks. This allows for the development of a considerably more effective set of plans and more precise strategizing and effort estimation.

Extensive testing is required

In the most crucial sense, acceptance criteria serve as the foundation for all product testing.

When the criteria are met, they supply teams with the necessary pieces that you must test, and a project or iteration can only be classified as ‘complete’ once all of the criteria have been met and approved. By doing so, you can make sure that the testing process is both successful and productive.

The Benefits Of Acceptance Criteria

You’ll reap the rewards later if you take the time now to unify the team behind a set of goals and objectives. Acceptance criteria, for example, add value in the following ways:

We are maintaining the team’s concentration and staying on track

Through acceptance criteria, development teams can have something tangible to hold them accountable and keep them laser-focused on creating solutions for their users.

Assuring that the user story is effectively finished is essential

The user story is elevated to the top of the priority list in the development process. The criteria provide teams with a foolproof method of guaranteeing that the user story is successfully fulfilled.

Communication is encouraged, and acceptance criteria aid in the management of expectations

Acceptance criteria are also an excellent tool for encouraging effective collaboration and communication between teams and clients and assisting developers in managing the expectations of their customers.

Defining user stories is essential

The content of user tales can be highly general — even vague — on their own, and they are certainly open to varying interpretations.

Acceptance criteria contribute to the clarity of these stories by, among other things, outlining and agreeing on the scope in advance, eliminating confusing results or goals, and assisting in keeping a project on track.

Acceptance Criteria Vs. User Stories

Even though both Acceptance Criteria and user stories are agile-based terms that share some common ground, there is a considerable difference between them.


Whereas user stories are intended to describe what the user wants the system to perform, acceptance criteria are designed to provide a single user story’s requirements.

How To Use Acceptance Criteria

Unsurprisingly, you must define the acceptance criteria before the commencement of the development process rather than being added after the project has already begun.

The process should be guided by the criteria rather than the other way around, and the agreement between the client and the team should be about the most time-efficient manner to meet all of the client’s — and user’s — requirements.

When it comes to planning and strategy, essential characteristics of a good set of acceptance criteria are attainable, controllable, well-defined, and reasonable. To avoid being misunderstood or misrepresented, they should offer sufficient detail while simultaneously maintaining enough flexibility to allow the team to remain appropriately nimble.

It is standard for acceptance criteria and user stories to be expressed in a very formulaic manner, following a ‘Given, When, Then’ pattern or following an “As a [user], I can [function] in such a way that [result].”


Essentially, the user story establishes a collection of conditions that define the acceptance criteria in the final analysis. An example would be developing an app that displays local bus schedules. The pathway would look like this: “As a passenger, I can view the timetables of nearby buses to ensure that I get to my destination on time.”

Similarly, in this situation, the app’s acceptance requirements would be comparable to these:

●     The passenger can be located using the app.

●     The routes that are available in the area are displayed.

●     The relevant timetables are displayed.

●     When calculating the journey duration or arrival time, consider

In this instance, the ‘Given, When Then’ approach would result in a story that looked somewhat like this:

“When a user searches for a local bus route, the relevant timetables, journey times, and destinations are displayed based on the user’s location and the current time,” the company explains.


Acceptance criteria are used by development teams who operate with agile approaches to finish and complete the user narrative at the end of the development cycle. They describe the scope of a user narrative and specify the constraints and structure of the tasks that must be completed before you can tag them as ‘done.’ They are also used to determine whether a user story is complete.

Agile approaches allow teams to concentrate more on the user and create solutions that are more efficiently and effectively tailored to their requirements and wishes.

The success of an agile project depends on the ability to fully comprehend the customer’s needs and provide software or goods that are wholly aligned with those needs. These criteria should be stated from a user’s point of view and created based on thorough user research.

Start your
trial now!


Try it for free