The 5 Acceptance concepts in a Project

These 5 Acceptance concepts can be applied to almost all stakeholders involved throughout the entire project life cycle and can be applied at any given phase of a project.

Acceptance Strategy

A good acceptance strategy answers the following questions:

  • what action is to be done?
  • will it be acceptable?
  • how to make it acceptable?

This initial thought process helps guide and sets a basic outline of expectations and actions in the minds of stakeholders at an initial point, consisting of principles or rules that will drive a person in the business to perform an action and what should be avoided. It helps prioritize to achieve the desired output for each stakeholder involved.

This strategy concept can be applied to any phase in a project by any stakeholder, as our minds are constantly thinking to manifest efficiency or simply just brainstorming.

Acceptance Plan

An act of ‘acceptance’ is when two entities agree on a task.

An agreement between a client and provider. An agreement between stakeholders in a project. An agreement between a developer and a tester. An agreement between a buyer and seller. An agreement between peers. An agreement between different teams.

Each entity agrees in each scenario about each task or tasks and collates them together. These tasks may be exclusive or interrelated and this should be determined in the acceptance plan.

Acceptance Criteria

Acceptance criteria are a set of statements, each with a result that can be measured. It can be used to better understand the functional and non-functional requirements. These statements should be simple and should be understood by all stakeholders involved. Acceptance criteria should always be clear, precise and at the same time comprehensive.

In agile, an acceptance criterion should be written before a user story is Sprint ready. There are many formats to write acceptance criteria and one of the very popular is the BDD behavior-driven development format.

Acceptance Risk

Accepting risk is a concept where an individual or business identifies risk and renders it acceptable. The potential loss from the identified and accepted risk is considered bearable. It is a formal agreement of the analysis that justifies accepting the risk is key to optimizing risk decisions and protecting both the organization and the risk management team.

Generally, low risk is accepted, and high risk is attempted to be mitigated. Mitigating risk means lowering the risk to an acceptable level. Lowering risk is also called risk reduction, and the process of lowering risk is also called reduction analysis.

Acceptance Testing  

It is the verification and validation of the behavior of a system to confirm it meets the expected requirement specification. The terms acceptance test and customer test are used interchangeably across projects and industries. A recent term ‘story test’ referring to user stories is often used in an agile environment.

Acceptance testing is an important phase in testing as this decides whether the client approves the system or not. It may involve testing aspects like the functionality, usability, performance, or user interface of the system or all. Other terms to this reference used commonly are user acceptance testing, operational acceptance testing, and alpha-beta testing.

Of course, the thought process to visualize the function in the test from a customer perspective at earlier stages of the project or during each test phase could help in resulting in a successful acceptance testing phase.


Written by QA analyst, Malita R.