Behavior Driven Development

Definition of Behavior Driven Development

Behavior Driven Development (BDD) is a software development methodology that emphasizes collaboration between developers, testers, and non-technical stakeholders to define clear, understandable requirements using a common language. It focuses on defining the desired behavior of a system through the use of user stories and examples, represented in a natural language format. BDD aims to minimize misunderstandings and improve communication, resulting in the delivery of high-quality, well-tested software that meets user expectations.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Behavior Driven Development” is:bih-HEY-vyoor DRIH-vuhn dih-VEL-uhp-muhnt

Key Takeaways

  1. Behavior Driven Development (BDD) focuses on collaboration between developers, testers, and stakeholders to ensure a clear understanding of the software’s expected behavior and requirements.
  2. BDD uses a human-readable language (Gherkin) to create test cases, making it easier for non-technical stakeholders to participate in the development process.
  3. By defining specific scenarios with clear expectations, BDD helps minimize misunderstandings and improve the quality of the software being developed.

Importance of Behavior Driven Development

Behavior Driven Development (BDD) is an important software development methodology that emphasizes collaboration between developers, testers, and non-technical stakeholders to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the desired software behavior.

BDD focuses on using human-readable specifications to define software requirements, enhancing communication and fostering a shared understanding among team members.

This approach minimizes misunderstandings and misinterpretations, enabling quicker development, more accurate results, and greater efficiency.

Incorporating BDD into the software development process places a strong emphasis on user experience and product functionality, ultimately leading to a higher-quality end product that better meets the needs and expectations of its users.


Behavior Driven Development (BDD) is an agile software development approach aimed at enhancing communication and collaboration between team members. Its primary purpose is to improve the understanding of software requirements by fostering open dialogue between developers, testers, and non-technical stakeholders. BDD bridges the gap between technical and non-technical team members by emphasizing the use of a shared language, which allows everyone to have a clear understanding of the project’s goals, specifications, and expected outcomes.

By actively involving all stakeholders in the development process, BDD reduces miscommunication, ensures requirements are met, and contributes to the overall success of the project. BDD is commonly used for refining product specifications and designing test scenarios. It encourages the use of a more user-centric approach by focusing on the desired behaviors of the software rather than its technical implementation.

Teams working with BDD utilize structured natural language constructs called “scenarios” to describe the software’s intended behavior. These scenarios follow a “given-when-then” format to outline the prerequisites, actions, and expected outcomes of different use cases. This shared understanding ensures that developers and testers work towards a common goal, resulting in a more efficient development process with fewer defects and rework.

Ultimately, BDD aligns the entire team around the user’s needs and expectations, improving the quality and usefulness of the final product.

Examples of Behavior Driven Development

Behavior Driven Development (BDD) is an agile software development methodology that encourages collaboration among developers, quality assurance teams, and non-technical stakeholders. It aims to build a shared understanding of how an application should behave. Here are three real-world examples of companies implementing BDD in their development process:

Atlassian: Atlassian, the creator of the popular project management tool JIRA, adopted BDD to improve collaboration between their development and QA teams. By using BDD-based tools like Cucumber and SpecFlow, the teams were able to create a shared understanding of expected application behavior through human-readable acceptance criteria. This helped streamline the process of creating and implementing new features and improved the overall quality of the software.

John Lewis: John Lewis, a British retail company, implemented BDD to improve the collaboration between their development and business teams. BDD allowed them to create a set of shared examples, which improved communication between stakeholders and ensured all requirements were understood and documented. Through BDD, John Lewis was able to reduce miscommunication, accelerate software development, and increase overall confidence in the final product.

BBC: The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) adopted BDD to enhance their software development practices while building the iPlayer Radio app, which allows users to listen to live and catch-up radio shows. Using BDD helped create a shared understanding of the application’s behavior and improve collaboration among their teams, ultimately resulting in a higher-quality product. Writing acceptance criteria in a language that both developers and non-technical stakeholders could understand helped ensure everyone involved in the project was on the same page, reducing the need for clarification and re-work.

FAQ Section: Behavior Driven Development

What is Behavior Driven Development (BDD)?

Behavior Driven Development (BDD) is a software development methodology that emphasizes collaboration between developers, testers, and non-technical stakeholders. It aims to improve communication and understanding by using simple, natural language to define the behavior of a software application in user-centric scenarios.

How does BDD differ from Test Driven Development (TDD)?

While both BDD and TDD are focused on testing, BDD specifically targets collaboration and understanding of the system’s behavior through the use of plain English language. TDD, on the other hand, focuses on writing tests before implementing the functionality and then refactoring the code to pass the tests. BDD bridges the gap between technical and non-technical stakeholders, providing a clear understanding of a system’s intended behavior.

What is a common language used in BDD?

Gherkin is a popular language used in BDD, allowing the specification of tests in a simple, easy-to-read format. Gherkin is designed to be easily understandable by non-technical stakeholders, allowing them to participate in the definition of software behavior. Gherkin uses a given-when-then format for defining scenarios and expected outcomes.

What are the benefits of Behavior Driven Development?

Benefits of BDD include improved communication between different stakeholders, early detection of misunderstandings or errors, the creation of executable documentation of the system, and the promotion of shared understanding of the business requirements. This ensures a more accurate and robust product.

Which tools support Behavior Driven Development?

Several tools support Behavior Driven Development, such as Cucumber, SpecFlow, and Behat. These tools usually use Gherkin language to define the scenarios and support various programming languages for test automation. These tools enable effective collaboration between stakeholders and help teams adhere to the BDD methodology.

Related Technology Terms

  • Cucumber
  • Acceptance Criteria
  • User Stories
  • Feature Files
  • Step Definitions

Sources for More Information


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