Acceptance Test Driven Development: How and Why To Use It?

Acceptance Test Driven Development

Look no further than ATDD if you’re seeking a solution to enhance teamwork and quality. 

Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD) is a practice similar to test-driven development in which team members from several viewpoints (customer, development, and testing) work together to create acceptance tests before implementing the relevant functionality.

This strategy can ensure that everyone is on the same page and that all parties are pleased with the outcome. 

In this article, we’ll talk about the advantages of ATDD and how you may start using this strategy immediately.

What is Acceptance Test Driven Development?

Let me begin by outlining what ATDD is not. Contrary to what the name may imply, it is not a testing method. 

Acceptance test-driven development, on the other hand, is a development approach. ATDD prioritizes test automation, much like its “relative” TDD does. 

Teams who embrace it will employ automated test cases to direct the creation of the production code.

Contrary to TDD, which is typically an engineering approach, ATDD is a team effort that brings together various software development process participants, including testers, engineers, and key decision-makers. 

The end product of this cooperation is the specifications for the application, which presents itself in a language that is clear to everyone and then transformed into automated acceptance tests.

Difference Between BDD and ATDD

A more advanced variant of TDD is behavior-driven development (BDD). This approach checks that the entire application functions per the requirements of the overall application architecture.

In this expanded form of TDD, a higher-level test—often referred to as a functional test—is constructed to eliminate the need for creating extraneous code to ensure the application’s maximum functioning.

Teams build the feature-failing test. They then test the prototypes to gain input on initial failure. 

The smallest amount of code is produced to make the proper application function as effectively as possible. They continue writing this script until they receive the result of the functional test as ‘passed.’ 

A comparison between BDD and ATDD

PurposeA development strategy that prioritizes anticipated behaviorA method of development that places the demands of the user first
ParticipantsCustomers, Developers, QAsCustomers, Developers, QAs
LanguageGherkin, EnglishGherkin, English
TestIt’s crucial for this strategy that testing be clear to all parties involved and available to them. They are therefore written in plain English and later converted into automated test language. There is a requirement for the use of a universally known language for this strategy. Therefore, using plain English is recommended.
FocusUnderstanding RequirementsWriting Acceptance Tests
ToolsGherkin, Dave, Cucumber, RSpec, Behat, Lettuce, JBehave, Specflow, BeanSpec, Concordian, MSpec, Cucumber with Selenium / SerenityTestNG, FitNesse, EasyB, Spectacular, Concordian, Thucydides, Robot Framework, FIT
SuitabilityProjects where the user is the one acting, such as applications of all kinds and e-commerce websites.Projects, where the focus is on the client’s needs, are best suited for this method. These are also the ventures with the most competition, such as applications, and e-commerce.

Difference Between TDD and ATDD

Before engineers begin writing code, they create test cases using the test-driven development methodology. These test cases are just little pieces of software that have to work together.

The goal is to use the “red-green refactor loop” to repeatedly and continuously test the code against these test cases until a specified unit is entirely prepared to be a part of the overall plan.

The TDD methodology’s most vital feature is letting developers encounter failure immediately in the development process. 

Thanks to this, they can eliminate all potential problems that could appear during the development process. Thus, they receive the unique code needed for the particular software that is anticipated.

PurposeA method of feature development that is focused on particular desired componentsA method of development that places the demands of the user first
ParticipantsDevelopersCustomers, Developers, QAs
LanguageDeveloped using a programming language with the purpose of adding features (Eg. Java, Python, etc)Gherkin, English
TestDevelopers build tests for developers using this method.The use of a universally known language is required for this strategy as well. Therefore, using plain English is recommended.
FocusUnit TestsWriting Acceptance Tests
ToolsJDave, Cucumber; JBehave, Spec Flow; BeanSpec; Gherkin Concordian; FitNesse; Junit; TestNG; NUnit frameworks; Selenium tool; or any open source tools.TestNG, FitNesse, EasyB, Spectacular, Concordian, Thucydides, Robot Framework, FIT
SuitabilityProjects like servers and APIs that don’t involve end users are examples.Projects, where the focus is on the needs of the client, are best suited for this method. These are also the ventures with the most competition, such applications and e-commerce.

Acceptance Test Driven Development Goal

Through cooperation, ATDD aims to provide specifications expressed in simple English that represent a shared knowledge of the system’s specifications. 

The automated acceptance test cases are then created from the requirements. What are the advantages of doing that?

Consider unit testing to begin understanding why that is advantageous. This type of testing is mostly focused on developers by nature. 

It supports engineers in putting their code’s hypotheses in accessible language.  ‘Are we creating the item correctly?‘ is a problem resolved by unit testing.

Unit tests, unfortunately, don’t address the issue of “are we creating the correct item?” 

You would have to use acceptance testing, which checks the application’s functionality against a list of suitability criteria created through discussions with a domain expert.

Simply said, acceptance test-driven development addresses the issue of the development team adopting features that don’t address the client’s demands.

Automation is a key element of ATDD. That is because it ensures that software developers build the features per the requirements by turning the specifications developed from the conversations into tests that can be executed.

How to Get Started with ATTD?

  • To get everyone on the same wavelength, engage them all on the subject.

    Begin by assuring that all employees have exposure to training resources so they can become knowledgeable about ATDD.
  • Develop everyone’s abilities in accordance with their jobs and responsibilities.

    Adopting ATDD calls for a highly specialised set of abilities, including social ones like interpersonal communication and teamwork with domain specialists.

    Technical abilities, like as proficiency with testing tools, are undoubtedly also necessary.
  • Learn about specifications written in the form of user stories. Unquestionably, one of the pillars of ATDD are user tales.

    All team members must feel at ease both reading and developing system specifications in this style.

    Later on, you should broaden this to include knowing the Gherkin language.
  • Start becoming familiar with gathering scenarios and acceptance criteria from the stakeholders during the kick off meeting at the beginning of each iteration, then working with them to write tests in plain English.

    There is no set format or language that must be used for this.
  • Check for a lesson or manual on a certain ATDD acceptance-testing platform after growing better at the preceding stage.

    Choose the model, then begin putting the ATDD cycle’s acceptance tests into practise.
  • Continuously assess your strategy, and make adjustments as necessary.

Acceptance Test Driven Development Cycle

1. Discuss

Technicians and engineers will describe the tasks/user stories chosen for execution for the following iteration or sprint with the stakeholder/product owner/client during the planning meeting. 

The crew has the chance to clear up any confusion during the discussion phase. This can help them avoid introducing a bug into the programme. Using such method is far less expensive than having to debug, assess, and correct it afterwards.

Additionally, the team could learn during the “discuss” phase that a user narrative that first appeared to be straightforward is actually considerably more complicated. 

The team and the business stakeholder may decide to divide the tale into two or more stories in this situation.

This step results in acceptance tests that are presented as easily understandable tables or sentences in simple English.

2. Distill

The second stage entails transforming the tests created in the first stage into a format. This format must appropriate for use with whichever acceptance testing instrument you are currently employing.

The acceptance tests are the result of this step. You’ll notice that they’re not quite prepared for implementation, though.

3. Develop

The test created in the preceding step is no longer capable of testing the system in question. 

At this point, they are only ghosts; you must link them to real test code that will put application code to the test.

Depending on the particular tools being used, the specifics of this connecting up change. It suffices to explain that the tests will fail once the connections is finished since they are attempting to use features that are not yet available.

The pattern is then put into action by the developers in accordance with the requirements that were acquired during the “discuss” phase and turned into tests during the “distill” phase.

4. Demo

The functionality is demoed to stakeholders once it has been implemented by the developers. 

A very typical element of many agile approaches is holding a meeting at the conclusion of each cycle. It is when the team discusses the product and/or ways to enhance the process itself. Therefore, the ATDD demo phase meshes well with that.

Testers can also carry out some manual exploratory testing after the installation is finished. These tests can identify problems, but they can also point up areas for improvement, which can lead to new tales.

Acceptance Test Driven Development Example

Let’s suppose that the customer or product owner asked for the following functionality in our mobile app: To use the program anonymously, I want to skip the login page as a user

We will do some “acceptance” or “functional” tests like this after discussing this requirement with the entire team (analysts, programmers, testers, etc.) and when further details have been included in the narrative or the product.

  • The program accepts login and password requests voluntarily.
  • The user can explore the program without logging in thanks to the button bypass.
  • The program does not retain or show user-specific details when the button to bypass is chosen.
  • The program GUI has to be customized according to the user preferences when the login/password is utilized.

Advantage of ATDD

By ensuring that everyone is on the same page, ATDD may help teams collaborate more effectively: 

Writing acceptance tests in advance with the support of team members with various viewpoints helps. It guarantees that everyone is on the same page and understands the specifications.

Early stakeholder involvement in the process can help to guarantee that the software satisfies the requirements of all parties. This early input may aid in enhancing the software’s quality.

Writing acceptance tests together can help team members with various viewpoints communicate more effectively. A higher grasp of the needs and better quality may result from this improved communication.

By verifying that all criteria are satisfied, ATDD can assist in increasing the software’s quality. This is so that what has to be implemented may be defined in detail by acceptance tests.

Disadvantage of ATDD

If the team selects a tool that is poorly matched to their requirements, rather than enhancing cooperation and communication,

The use of ATDD is a useful technique that may enhance teamwork and performance. It should be used in conjunction with other techniques. They can be techniques like test-driven development and continuous integration because it is not a miracle cure.


Agile methodology practices have been revolutionizing the IT sector. 

Of all things, we can confidently assert that the focus on automated testing has significantly impacted the software development environment. 

We discussed acceptance test-driven development in this article. This is a software development process where testing is essential, much like in TDD and BDD.

Your comprehension of this strategy, as well as how it links to related methods, has improved. 

Additionally, you now know some of the difficulties that ATDD implementation may provide.

A rapid and drastic shift to remote work is one difficulty that many firms are now dealing with. 

Face-to-face cooperation is cited as being crucial in the agile manifesto. Therefore, it’s not surprising that many businesses find it challenging to manage distant work.

However, in a virtual, scattered work environment, it is still feasible to create a profitable and effective team that can use agile approaches.

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