How to Leverage NFRs to Develop Acceptance Criteria

4 min read
6/16/23 7:23 AM
How to Leverage NFRs to Develop Acceptance Criteria


As a business analyst, one of the most important tasks is to develop acceptance criteria for user stories. Acceptance criteria are essential in ensuring that the product meets the requirements and expectations of stakeholders. However, writing comprehensive acceptance criteria can be challenging, especially regarding non-functional requirements such as performance and security. In this blog, we will explore how you can leverage non-functional requirements to develop better acceptance criteria and ensure project success. So, grab a cup of coffee, and let's dive in!

What are the acceptance criteria for user stories?

Acceptance criteria are a set of conditions that must be met for a user story to be considered complete. They define the boundaries and expectations of a particular feature or functionality, providing guidance on how it should work and what it should achieve.

Acceptance criteria are an essential part of Agile development methodology, as they guide the team in developing features that meet stakeholders' requirements. They help ensure everyone is on the same page regarding what constitutes success for a given user story.

Good acceptance criteria are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). They provide clarity about what needs to be done and allow stakeholders to assess whether each requirement has been met. Acceptance criteria also serve as testable objectives against which project progress can be measured.

Acceptance criteria provide clear guidelines for defining when a user story has been successfully completed. By incorporating them into your development process from the start, you can increase collaboration among team members while ensuring that all project goals are effectively achieved.

Why completeness of acceptance criteria is important

The completeness of acceptance criteria is crucial because it serves as a clear and concise way to measure whether or not the user story has been completed. It helps ensure everyone involved in the project, from developers to stakeholders, understands precisely what is expected and prevents misunderstandings.

Without complete acceptance criteria, there may be confusion about what constitutes success for each user story. This can lead to rework, delays in delivery timeframes, and ultimately reduces customer satisfaction. Additionally, incomplete acceptance criteria may result in scope creep - where additional requirements are added during development without proper analysis.

Having comprehensive acceptance criteria upfront ensures that all necessary aspects of the user story are captured. Complete acceptance criteria also make it easier to conduct thorough testing before delivering the product or service to customers.

Completeness of acceptance criteria enables the entire team to work towards a common goal with clarity while reducing risks associated with misunderstanding requirements.

How to write all possible acceptance criteria

When writing acceptance criteria, it is important to cover every aspect of the user story. To do this, you need to consider all scenarios that may arise from the feature or function being developed.

One way to write all possible acceptance criteria is by brainstorming with your team. Gather everyone involved in the project and discuss potential scenarios that could happen when using the feature. This can help ensure that nothing gets overlooked.

Another approach is to use examples and user stories to guide your thinking. Look at similar features or functions in other products and analyze their acceptance criteria. Use those as a starting point for creating your list of possible criteria.

It's also essential to be specific and clear in your language when writing acceptance criteria. Use action verbs and precise descriptions so there are no misunderstandings about what needs to be tested during development.

Don't forget to prioritize your acceptance criteria based on importance. Focus on the most critical aspects first before moving on to less crucial requirements.

By following these tips, you can write all possible acceptance criteria for any given user story efficiently while ensuring thoroughness throughout the entire process

How to leverage non-functional requirements for better acceptance criteria

Non-functional requirements are an essential part of any project development process. They define how a system should work and perform, including its availability, reliability, security, scalability, and usability. As a business analyst or product owner, it's crucial to leverage these non-functional requirements while developing acceptance criteria for user stories.

One way to do this is by identifying the key performance indicators (KPIs) associated with each non-functional requirement. For example, if your system needs to be scalable enough to handle high traffic volumes during peak hours of operation, you may need KPIs around response time or throughput rate.

Another approach is to use personas or user scenarios representing different types of users who will interact with the system. By considering their unique needs and expectations related to non-functional requirements such as accessibility or usability, you can develop more comprehensive acceptance criteria.

You can also leverage industry standards for benchmarking purposes when defining acceptance criteria based on non-functional requirements. This ensures that your system meets best practices in terms of performance and functionality.

Leveraging non-functional requirements helps identify critical success factors for your project's delivery while providing a clear understanding of what is expected from the final product in terms of performance and functionality.


To sum up, acceptance criteria are an essential aspect of user story development that help ensure a common understanding of what needs to be delivered. As a business analyst or product owner, it is important to write comprehensive acceptance criteria that cover all possible scenarios and meet non-functional requirements.

By leveraging non-functional requirements such as performance, security, usability, and scalability, you can develop better acceptance criteria that not only focus on functional aspects but also address the overall quality attributes of the system being developed.

So next time you are developing user stories and defining your acceptance criteria, don't forget to include both functional and non-functional requirements in your definition. With this approach, you will help improve the quality of your deliverables and ensure customer satisfaction while meeting their expectations.

Adaptive US provides several courses related to business analysis which helps individuals gain expertise in writing effective requirement documents, including User Stories. So if you want to pursue a career in Business Analysis or just want to learn more about it, consider enrolling for Adaptive US's course today!

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