Chapter 12. Step 6: Acceptance and Operational Testing

Acceptance testing is formal testing conducted to determine whether a software system satisfies its acceptance criteria and to enable the buyer to determine whether to accept the system. Software acceptance testing at delivery is usually the final opportunity for the buyer to examine the software and to seek redress from the developer for insufficient or incorrect software. Frequently, the software acceptance test period is the only time the buyer is involved in acceptance and the only opportunity the buyer has to identify deficiencies in a critical software system. (The term critical implies economic or social catastrophe, such as loss of life; as used in this chapter, it implies the strategic importance to an organization’s long-term economic welfare.) The buyer is thus exposed to the considerable risk that a needed system will never operate reliably (because of inadequate quality control during development). To reduce the risk of problems arising at delivery or during operation, the buyer must become involved with software acceptance early in the acquisition process.


At the conclusion of Step 5, developers and testers have tested the system and reported their conclusions. If the report follows the proposed format, it will list not only strengths and weaknesses but also recommendations. The customer/users of the software have one of three decisions to make:

  1. The software system is usable as is and can be placed into a ...

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