Acceptance Criteria Vs Acceptance Tests – 5 Key Differences

October 27, 2023Dhivya Krishna
Acceptance Criteria Vs Acceptance Tests – Know the Difference With Examples cover

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Acceptance Criteria and Acceptance testing are crucial for a comprehensive software development process. Acceptance criteria are the conditions a software product must meet to make it acceptable to end customer. On the other hand, acceptance testing checks whether a software product meets the acceptance criteria.

Both these processes ensure robust and quality software. In this blog, we’d explore Acceptance Criteria vs Acceptance Testing in detail, along with their types, structures, advantages, and more.

What are Acceptance Criteria?

The acceptance criteria are a set of several prerequisites and conditions that must be satisfied for the product to be considered acceptable by clients and end users. They verify the software’s development and ensure the product operates as intended, without any flaws or bugs.

The acceptance criteria should always be written before development begins. Writing these criteria should clarify “what” to expect rather than “how” to achieve or implement a specific functionality because the purpose of doing so is to state the aim, not the solution. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • The acceptance criteria should be clear and concise.
  • The criteria should be achievable and testable.
  • The criteria should align with the project’s objectives.

What is an Acceptance Test?

An Acceptance test determines whether the software meets the acceptance criteria for a given requirement. It ensures that a system is working as intended before it is deployed. Acceptance tests are typically carried out by the customer or end-user after unit testing, integration testing, and system testing.

Acceptance test, in its simplest form, can be thought of as a validation technique that determines every part of the software’s functional, non-functional and technical requirements and verifies that it accurately satisfies the defined acceptance criteria.

Read all about Acceptance Testing

Acceptance Criteria vs Acceptance Testing: Know the Differences

The primary difference between acceptance criteria and acceptance testing is that the former documents the expected behavior of a feature, whereas the latter defines the expected behavior of entire application.

Here are some basic differences:







Acceptance Criteria Acceptance Testing
Acceptance Criteria refer to the conditions software must meet to be accepted by the customer. Acceptance Testing determines whether the software meets the acceptance criteria.
These are written prior to development stage. These are implemented during product development.
They define what needs to be done. It represents how it should be done.
Either the client or the development team writes the criteria. The user or customer carries out the testing.
There is minimum or sometimes no requirement for documentation. It demands detailed documentation.


Now that we have understood the differences, types, and structures of acceptance criteria and testing, it is evident that they are crucial for a comprehensive software development process. It’s just not possible to ignore one over the other. By following the best practices, you can deliver a quality product that not only meets your users’ expectations but also remains bug-free.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between acceptance criteria and test scripts?

Acceptance Criteria establish the criteria that a product or feature must fulfill to be deemed complete and satisfactory from a user’s perspective. They define a product’s expected behaviors, functionalities, and outcomes but do not delve into the specific steps required to attain these outcomes. On the contrary, Test Scripts offers detailed instructions for testers to follow in a step-by-step manner to determine if the product meets the defined acceptance criteria. These scripts encompass specific actions or sequences to ensure the product functions correctly and satisfies the acceptance criteria. To summarize, acceptance criteria articulate the objectives, whereas test scripts elucidate the process of verifying the fulfillment of those objectives.


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