Product Management

Behavior-Driven Development (BDD)

Contents
What is Behavior-Driven Development (BDD)?
Definition of Behavior-Driven Development (BDD)
Behavior-driven development (BDD) is a collaborative process that encourages teams to define application behavior and acceptance criteria in a very structured, specific format aligned to user needs, writing test cases tied to software requirements understood by both business and technical team members. BDD focuses conversations on tangibly detailing what the system should do in order to satisfy the end user.

Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) is a software development approach that has evolved from the Test Driven Development (TDD) process. It differs by being written in a shared language, which improves communication between tech and non-tech teams and stakeholders. In both development approaches, tests are written before the code, but in BDD, the tests are more user-focused and based on the system’s behavior.

The main goal of Behavior-Driven Development is to improve the collaboration between everyone involved in the project. It allows everyone on the team to understand the behavior of the system, and it ensures that everyone has the same understanding of this behavior. BDD focuses on obtaining a clear understanding of desired software behavior through discussion with stakeholders.

Key Concepts of Behavior-Driven Development

There are several key concepts that are central to understanding Behavior-Driven Development. These include: User Stories, Scenarios, Scenario Outlines, and Steps. Each of these concepts plays a vital role in the BDD process and contributes to its overall effectiveness as a development approach.

Understanding these concepts is crucial for anyone involved in a BDD project, whether they are a developer, a tester, a business analyst, or a stakeholder. Each concept has a specific purpose and provides a unique perspective on the software's behavior.

User Stories

In BDD, User Stories are used to describe the behavior of the system from the user's perspective. They are written in a simple, clear language that can be understood by both technical and non-technical team members. User Stories focus on the value that the user will get from a particular feature, and they provide a clear description of what the system should do.

User Stories are typically written in the following format: "As a [role], I want [feature] so that [benefit]". This format ensures that the focus is on the user and their needs, rather than on the technical details of how the feature will be implemented.

Scenarios

Scenarios are used in BDD to describe a specific example of a User Story. They provide a detailed description of what should happen in a particular situation, based on a given set of conditions. Scenarios are written in a structured format, using a language called Gherkin.

Gherkin uses a set of special keywords, including Given, When, Then, And, and But, to describe scenarios in a clear, concise, and structured way. This makes the scenarios easy to understand for all team members, regardless of their technical knowledge.

Benefits of Behavior-Driven Development

Behavior-Driven Development offers a number of benefits for software development teams and businesses. These include improved communication, clearer understanding of requirements, better collaboration, and more effective testing.

By using a shared language and focusing on the system's behavior, BDD helps to break down barriers between technical and non-technical team members. This improves communication and understanding, and it ensures that everyone has the same expectations about what the software should do.

Improved Communication

One of the main benefits of BDD is that it improves communication between team members. By using a shared language to describe the system's behavior, everyone on the team can understand what is being discussed, regardless of their technical knowledge. This means that developers, testers, business analysts, and stakeholders can all communicate effectively and understand each other's perspectives.

This improved communication helps to prevent misunderstandings and misinterpretations, which can lead to problems later in the development process. It also helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page and has the same understanding of what the software should do.

Clearer Understanding of Requirements

BDD also helps to provide a clearer understanding of the system's requirements. By focusing on the behavior of the system, rather than on the technical details of how it will be implemented, BDD ensures that everyone on the team understands what the software should do.

This clear understanding of requirements helps to prevent problems later in the development process, such as features that don't meet the user's needs or software that doesn't work as expected. It also helps to ensure that the software delivers the value that the user expects.

How to Implement Behavior-Driven Development

Implementing Behavior-Driven Development involves several key steps. These include defining User Stories, writing Scenarios, implementing the software, and then testing it to ensure it behaves as expected.

Each of these steps is crucial to the success of a BDD project, and they should be carried out in a structured and systematic way. The following sections will provide a detailed explanation of each step, along with practical examples and advice.

Defining User Stories

The first step in implementing BDD is to define the User Stories. This involves identifying the different roles that will interact with the system, and then defining what each role wants to achieve. These User Stories should be written in a clear, simple language that can be understood by both technical and non-technical team members.

Once the User Stories have been defined, they should be reviewed and agreed upon by all team members. This ensures that everyone has the same understanding of what the system should do, and it helps to prevent misunderstandings and misinterpretations later in the development process.

Writing Scenarios

The next step in implementing BDD is to write the Scenarios. These are detailed examples of how the system should behave in a particular situation, based on a given set of conditions. Scenarios are written in a structured format, using the Gherkin language.

Each Scenario should be linked to a specific User Story, and it should provide a clear and concise description of what should happen in a particular situation. Once the Scenarios have been written, they should be reviewed and agreed upon by all team members.

Conclusion

Behavior-Driven Development is a powerful approach to software development that focuses on the behavior of the system, rather than on the technical details of how it will be implemented. By using a shared language and focusing on User Stories and Scenarios, BDD improves communication, provides a clearer understanding of requirements, and helps to ensure that the software delivers the value that the user expects.

Implementing BDD involves several key steps, including defining User Stories, writing Scenarios, implementing the software, and testing it to ensure it behaves as expected. Each of these steps is crucial to the success of a BDD project, and they should be carried out in a structured and systematic way.