Q&A: BDD for Business Analysts Webinar
  February 09, 2021

Q1 2021 webinar

  • Given I am a Business Analyst
  • When I need to collaborate with my development team
  • Then I should use BDD to create a shared understanding

Teams want these tests to be understandable + valuable. Behavior-driven development (BDD) and Gherkin allows Business Analysts to document acceptance tests in a language that developers, QA & the business can understand. By having a common language to describe specifications, it encourages collaboration and creates a shared understanding of the expected system behavior. 

This talk will demonstrate how BDD improves collaboration between the BA and the delivery team. It will cover the essential role that BAs play working with the delivery team to refine the requirements, using detailed examples of system behavior to reach a shared understanding of the specifications.

  • Understand how BDD improves collaboration
  • Discover why we need examples to illustrate specifications
  • Learn the critical role of the BA in BDD


Questions from webinar 



My biggest challenge has always been to come up with ways to communicate the examples, without writing them out in 'Given, When,Then' notation.  Matt Wynne drew out scenarios for rail ticket bookings, but is hard to do on the fly.  How can you get better at this? 

We definitely recommend that you not bother with G/W/T during example mapping. My preferred technique is to divide the card into 3 columns and write context/action/outcome in each column. Sketches can also be really powerful.  

Has it ever happened to you that some teams find it "difficult" to use language like Gherkin? What do you say to them in those cases? 

Typically Gherkin hasn’t been the issue. However, there are other tools that address similar functionality. FIT/Fitnesse is the most venerable. Pryce/Freeman’s book Growing Object Oriented Code Guided by Tests uses JUnit directly. 

How do we manage technical stories with Given when then 

Context/Action/Outcome can be expressed in technical terms if that is appropriate for the story. We typically don’t find teams using BDD for performance/load/penetration testing, although even that can be structured as examples. 

At the end of example map conversation, can we convert it into a real feature? 

At present, there is no automated way to convert example maps into feature files. The CucumberStudio team have this on their backlog. 

Is the “Gherkin” format, specific to Cucumber, or do all stories that follow BDD utilize a similar format, regardless of the automation tool being used? 

Neither. Gherkin is an Open-Source project that defines a syntax and delivers multi-language parsers. Many automation tools make use of Gherkin.  
Using Gherkin does not imply that you are doing BDD - it’s just a syntax. BDD is the application of the three core practices - Discovery, Formulation, Automation. 

Does CucumberStudio integrate with Jira? 


We generate lots of examples and have difficulties to identify within the timeboxed Example mapping session how those examples overlap/duplicate. As individuals, we use different formulations to describe the same. 

I’d recommend reserving time at the end of the example mapping session to collaboratively de-duplicate. Without deduplicating it’s hard to see if rules have been adequately illustrated by examples and splitting stories can be problematic. If you run out of time, de-duplicate at the start of the next example mapping. 

How do we manage technical stories with Given when then 

From a discovery perspective, there is no difference. Once you have the illustrative examples you’ll have to decide whether to document them using domain language or pass them to the technical team who can use them to drive out the technical solution using programmer/unit tests. 

Regardless of the tool, how much of a benefit would the adoption of BDD and example mapping be without an automated tool like gherkin. What benefit would the team see in your experience? 

I’ve seen significant benefits from adopting Discovery, because it prioritises early learning, leading to reduced misunderstandings and therefore less rework. Customers and colleagues have reported that Formulation adds additional benefits, notably unambiguous manual test scripts written in a shared language, business-readable language. 

Can I user CucumberStudio in Xray? Cause Xray is Jira's plugin 

You can link CucumberStudio to any Jira Issue, regardless of issue type. That would include Xray issue types. 

If you are interested in test management tools, also consider taking a look at our Zephyr products, where we are actively working with their product teams to support BDD. We offer both standalone and Jira add-ons as options.  

I am finding it difficult to help my team understand technical stories, how can I use the example mapping to get them to understand 

The purpose of example mapping is for the team to imagine how the system will behave once the requirements of the story have been implemented. Ensure that they create at least two examples for each story. You may need to prompt them with your own questions if you think they haven’t considered a story’s implications sufficiently. 

How do we avoid scenarios that depend on the outcome of another scenarios outcome? 

Never mention other scenarios in the scenario that you are formulating. When a specific scenario requires the system to be in a very specific state (which they often do), try to find a succinct way of expressing it. 


For example, if you want to check minimum order $20 for free delivery, instead of: 

  • Go to the homepage 

  • Search for pizzas 

  • Filter for $10 pizzas 

  • Add a pizza to the basket 

  • Go to the checkout 

  • Check that free delivery is not offered 


  • Given a customer has an item costing $10 in their basket 

  • When they checkout 

  • Then they should not be offered free delivery 

Does Cucumber Studio have any support for working with tabular step parameters? 

Yes, it does, and the Gherkin editor is under active development. 

Last year around 1Q, Cucumber did not support Single Sign-On (SSO). What is the status now? 

We support it now with Okta. 

How to work simultaneously on UX and Business rules? 

This will vary from team to team, because in many situations the UX forms an important part of the business rules. I’ve seen teams have success when UX is sketched out alongside the initial story. Then PO/BA and UX go to the attend the example mapping session and respond to examples provided by the delivery team. 

IMHO the biggest benefit of BDD is that it brings people together to get a shared understanding of what we want to deliver and why. Automated testing and Living documentation are great too, however, the fact each team member knows what the topic is about, is priceless. 


Is there a CucumberStudio roadmap available to the public? 

Christophe, the Product Owner, says:  

“We are working to build a more coherent BDD workflow on one side, and a tighter integration between Cucumber Reports and CucumberStudio on the other side.

More coherent BDD workflow means integrated with Git, Jira, and Cucumber Open: we want teams to be able to take a user story from Jira, run discovery and refine it with example mapping, formulate new and existing features from this discovery work, get their formulation reviewed, push it to git so that developers and automation engineers can start implementing the stories, and fill the feedback loop with the continuous push of Cucumber Open execution results that will update CucumberStudio’s living documentation, and this should be visible from Jira and other tools as well.

For Cucumber Reports, it’s a free service, and anytime users want to enroll in a more complete environment, they’ll have the ability to do it in a snap and start editing and reviewing the features they initially pushed in Cucumber Reports.

Finally, I’d like to seize the opportunity to recruit users that are ok to try beta software and participate in usability tests. "

When is the Formulation book due to be finished? 

It is in final edit at the moment & the Leanpub e-book is available via bddbooks.com (& free updates will be available in the coming weeks). The printed version should be available 2021Q3 

Does Cucumber studio push and pull from github? 

The “BDD with Cucumber” project type pushes & pulls from GH 

One of the common questions we have is how do scenarios work if the team works on both FE and BE? Dedicated scenarios? Can they blend? 

It is ideal to have a team that works on the full solution stack. In that case the scenarios should be expressed describing business behaviour. Advanced teams can make use of hexagonal port/adapter architecture to automate the scenarios at variable levels of the architecture (see https://skillsmatter.com/skillscasts/9971-testable-software-architecture-with-aslak-hellesoy) 

Hey Seb, what about Automation with specflow book? 

There is no estimated delivery date. 

Do you still have questions? Email me: seb.rose@smartbear.com