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Lifecycle   »   Agile Testing   »   Acceptance testing


It is important that we spend a short time talking about acceptance tests. The acceptance test is really a confidence test. It comes from a circumstance or era when development and user teams were distinct and separate. In the Toolkit, we are not distinct and we are not separate. It is however important for us to discuss acceptance testing to make sure that you are satisfying these tests somewhere.

Acceptance tests are run when your project has a level of confidence in the stable running of the system, in a near live environment. Acceptance tests are not normally run before this. If you are running a test before the stable running of the system in a near live environment, you are not running an acceptance test. As we said, acceptance tests are really confidence tests. They are an examination to validate that a user team is confident in a solution delivered by a development team. They are an over the fence test. One team completes its work, hands the solution over the fence and stops work on that solution. The second team then starts work on that solution.

You can probably see this is not a very agile way of working. For this reason, acceptance testing is not something normally done (as a separate task) as part of the Toolkit. We work with the user teams all the time so acceptance is a natural part of the way of working. This does not mean separate and distinct acceptance testing cannot be performed as part of the Toolkit. We have worked on many projects where an acceptance team validates our output. The important issue to consider, however, is that the acceptance team will not be a block or hindrance to your project progress. Your team will be able to carry on working on another part of the solution while the acceptance team validates your previous delivery.

So, if you are using a separate acceptance test you will plan this carefully to combine tests with significant shipments that can be validated distinctly as well as alternative development work for your project. Naturally, it is best to work closely with your user and perform specific acceptance tests as you go, almost for free.

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