The Action Engineering team embraces an Agile mindset & Scrum practices in our work.
In our Agile articles, we share tips & coaching opportunities that work well for us.
“Joe was telling me all about his new car at the water cooler this morning, and the way he described it, I thought he bought a Ferrari… but I just saw him drive off in a brand new minivan.”
How often does someone describe something to you that is way different than what you imagined? Or how many times have you had to delegate a seemingly simple task to someone, only for them to deliver a result that was completely off the mark? Happens to the best of us. As humans, we assume that others know exactly what we want them to do, so we often don’t communicate our expectations clearly enough.
Clear and detailed communication is key to success and to delivering a final solution that fits the customer’s needs and requirements. We solve this problem by writing acceptance criteria, which are conditions that the product must meet to be accepted as done.
CLEAR & DETAILED ACCEPTANCE CRITERIA
These criteria are unique for each user story. All user stories should have acceptance criteria, including:
- Each acceptance criterion is independently testable.
- Acceptance criteria should focus on the end result (the what) and not the approach to take (the how).
- Use simple, clear sentences to create unambiguous acceptance criteria anyone can understand. As much as possible, acceptance criteria should have a clear pass/fail result.
- Be sure to include functional and non-functional requirements.
For Agile to succeed, managers need to shift from top-down leadership styles and embrace servant leadership. In a servant leader role, they will focus more on dealing with people outside of the team and minimizing distractions that might prevent the team from accomplishing the tasks at hand.
This isn’t only about internal team handoffs – sometimes, the customer tells you they want a rope swing, and only after the project is done do you realize that they needed a tire swing all along. Acceptance criteria can be a powerful tool to make sure you’re capturing what your stakeholders need rather than what they describe.
Want to chat with us about how your team is practicing Agile in your MBE journey? Send us a message!
Former Agile Team Lead,