I'm creating Acceptance Criteria for user stories.

Since it seems to be the main way to do it in my current company.

I feel that Given/When/Then always demote user story's readability and increase unnecessary communication.

Does anyone come across this issue or just me?

If it's the actuals problem there are a few options I think of

  1. Write the simplified bullet-point AC and write G/W/T as a test case for each bullet point (Consume a lot of time for PO, And may lose focus for refining product).

  2. Write the simplified bullet-point AC and if the team really needs this, Just create by themself. (Consume a lot of time for the team, And may lose focus for delivering).

  3. Or should I push to get rid of it completely, And use those simplified bullet points as test cases.

What option will you suggest, Why? And is there anything else I can do?

  • 1
    That's a very common complaint. BDD is a nice concept at the first glance, but in practice it's just so ineffective from any side - BA, QA, Dev. Bring this up with the team, think if what you heard about it is really true or it's just yet another marketing fairy tale. Dec 6, 2020 at 12:53
  • The Product Owner is a full member of the Scrum Team. They should be collaborating with the Developers to refine stories and identify acceptance criteria. The PO's time is not more important than that of the rest of the Scrum Team's, nor should the PO be working in isolation. Both are framework implementation smells.
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Dec 7, 2020 at 22:11

2 Answers 2


The Given/When/Then format is useful when automating your acceptance criteria and writing tests to verify them. You basically write a test for each of your Given/When/Then.

You marked your question BDD, so it seems you might want to stick with this format. The advantage is that you spend a few minutes figuring out your acceptance tests and then you write them. If you use bulleted lists, how many acceptance tests will you derive from each bullet point? And who will decide, the developer, the PO? You might end up with the same result in the end, so why not spend some effort up front than to avoid missing some test cases later on?

But it really depends on how you use them. If you are using this format just as a fancy way of listing acceptance criteria, and not to write executable acceptance tests from them, then maybe a bulleted list with a more natural language would work better.

You can always ask your team which way they prefer it, and you can also experiment both ways and stick with the approach that works better.


Given-when-then is a way of detailing scenarios rather than user stories.

A common format is to have a user story followed by one or more given-when-then scenarios associated with that story. In effect, the given-when-then becomes the acceptance criteria for the story.

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