Ultimately the business needs to know and accept changes that affect how they work

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True business acceptance is an art. Business people have to be active participants at all stages. When done well it makes a great contribution to the success of change. It needs to be taken seriously. It needs to be done right.

The good

Business users are engaged early to understand what is coming and why it is like it is. There is time for them to recognise and analyse the impacts on what they do. They are given sufficient knowledge of how it will behave to allow them to conceive tests. They conceive tests that represents what they do. A tested system is delivered. They are trained on the new solution and they then run their tests. They end up with confidence in the system and confidence in their ability to work with it.

The bad

A show is put on for the business users. There may be some audience participation but these are bit parts supervised by the professionals. The audience isn’t quite sure of what is happening and is a little disconnected. They don’t understand the story line and they don’t feel they could repeat the show themselves, though they will have to.

The ugly

Warning signs include:

  • Acceptance testing is depended on to find implementation defects.
  • Acceptance testing is expected to find defects.
  • Participants have not had knowledge transfer and system training.
  • Business testing is step by step scripted rather than relying on having people who know how to use the system.
  • The tests are technology centric tests created by the development team rather than simulations of real business activity.


Business acceptance should have significant autonomy, calling on the support of the delivery programme as and when required. It should set the objectives and timings for knowledge transfer and training. It should not play second fiddle to the programme, nor should it expected to be handed things on a plate.


As acceptance isn’t the day job of he business there is a real need to supply guidance and facilitation whilst not compromising autonomy. Experienced test managers and analysts are needed to bolster the business and assist them through this exercise.


Our experience means we can help you shape a fit for purpose business acceptance approach. Then, when the time comes we can guide and support the business through the testing process, ensuring a focused and effective delivery. Alternatively, we can provide a health check assessing how well the technology and change delivery plans align with what is needed for a successful business acceptance and how well preparation for acceptance is going.