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Specification by Example: How Successful Teams Deliver the Right Software
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Specification by Example: How Successful Teams Deliver the Right Software

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  663 ratings  ·  62 reviews

Specification by Example is an emerging practice for creating software based on realistic examples, bridging the communication gap between business stakeholders and the dev teams building the software. In this book, author Gojko Adzic distills interviews with successful teams worldwide, sharing how they specify, develop, and deliver software, without defects, in sh
Paperback, 249 pages
Published June 3rd 2011 by Manning Publications (first published June 2011)
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Dec 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: it
The book offers some very good ideas and is an interesting read, but it's too repetitive to me. You keep reading the same arguments and explanations over and over again, without going into concrete examples. It would have helped if the book contained a full blown actual example of the artifacts that are produced by SBE, and not just describing what the process is. ...more
André Heijstek
Jan 03, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: agile, engineering
The majority of the book is just an expansion of the praise pages typically found in USA books.
Never the book become concrete on HOW to create good test specifications.
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: testing
I agree, that ideas in this book are very repetitive. But I think it is worth to go and collect those ideas. Really recommended to read for those who has less experience in software development process.
Lance Willett
Jul 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Enjoyed this overview of a testing methodology that brings in BDD principles to automated software testing environments. It's a bit too complex for my needs, yet I love the idea of capturing everyone's opinion in specification (business owners, testers, developers, analysts) — as well as the philosophy of living documentation.

Two favorite bits:

1. Functional requirements, specs, and acceptance tests are the same thing.
2. Don't just disable failing tests — either fix the problem or move to a set o
Feb 25, 2016 rated it liked it
I was about to not finish the book at all because it the introduction was to talkative. But it started be more interesting from the chapter 4. The main message I took is to use behavior-driven development (BDD) e.g. Cucumber but not be focused on tool itself. I would appreciate examples of specification by example, which are not there. ...more
Nov 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: tech
I like the concepts in this book about having a living documentation system through testing. There are real-world, high-level case-studies, but I would like to have seen more examples of actual tests and tools.
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Specification by Example is a book that brings together practices such as BDD, ATDD, etc. into one work. The recurrent theme behind it is how many teams have evolved their testing practices over time to reflect the system specification as living documentation, using tests written in abstract, high level language to that effect.
Gojko Adzic identifies 7 different process patterns that seem to be in common with the teams he interviewed for writing this book: Deriving scope from goals, specifying co
Paul Childs
Dec 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: computers
Some of this book was interesting, some of it was not so much. The first 3 chapters were rough to get through, they seemed to discuss this at such a high level in such vague language that I didn't really get a grasp of where it was all going.

Adzic interviewed a bunch of people from various companies that use Specification by Example and the book basically describes practices that these people used. Not all the companies did Specification by Example the same way, so while you are getting a bunch
Gali Valiente
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Too many software projects go to waste, exceed budgets and overshoot schedules simply because project teams do not take specific steps to understand the true business need of the client. If you are still not satisfied with your existing methods on how to best understand what your client truly requires and deliver your project to the clients satisfaction then this book gives you specific take aways on how to do it. Highly recommended read for those who manage software development projects, busine ...more
I have mixed feeling about the book. I almost gave up to read it after first few chapters because it was too abstracted and ambiguous. Then I liked Part 2 of this book, but by the end of this part it started to be too technical for me (probably because I'm business analyst, not auto tester). Nevertheless I got some useful information from the book and do not regret that I've spent some time on it - e.g. now I have an idea what BDD is about and also some advises from this book very useful - e.g. ...more
Christoph Kappel
Feb 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021, l-english, c-testing
This is a really good read and starter for the general idea of "Specification by Example". Unlike many other books related to coding it contains not a single line of code and just a few examples how data tables and given/when/then syntax can look like.

The book is packed with real world examples and comments from active practitioners and concludes with a bit more information about the transformation of the mentioned companies.
Gábor László Hajba
Although this book is a bit old, I think the concepts are still valid and software projects can still benefit from Specification by Example.

I never used this approach but I am thinking about it in a future project if I can convince the stakeholders and fellow workers (development, test, business analysis) -- or I just go renegade and implement it all alone.
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: atdd-learner
Shelves: read-in-2018, agile
A must-read for ATDD learners. A lot of practical but precious know-hows are introduced. Though this book was written several years ago thus some of the examples seem to be outdated, the value of this book is still high enough.
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Full of practical, helpful and actionable items yet seemed that many of the argumentations and reasoning kept repeating. Didn't need to be as long as it was.

Yet 4 stars from myside, as topic well captured.
Bárbara Cabral da conceição
It's good to defend the concept to the development team.
Vladimirs Kotovs
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Have read few first chapters. Expressed ideas are great by for me it was too abstracted.
Fred Esere
Nov 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Some practical, helpful & actionable items in this book. Didn't need to be as long as it was. ...more
Robert Batůšek
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: agile, software, less
The book has a long and rather boring start but there are some interesting thoughts. Later chapters are much better.
Daniel Assis Alfenas
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Must-read for everyone interested on modern software development. Sets the ground and basics for every good test practice.
Garima Singh
May 01, 2018 rated it liked it
The content of the book is great. Covers variety of situations and case studies. The book was very dry though.
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think anyone that works in software development should read this book. If you want to understand how to bridge the gap between business requirements and technical development, start here.
Weldys Santos
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
It’s a great book but sometimes takes a long time repeating about the same thing. It’s a good reference about specification by example and creating user stories
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
One of my first readings many years ago ...

This book and others from this author, are always a good idea to read
Ash Moran
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Often I wish I could say about some aspect of software development, literally, "let's do this by the book". Only then do I realise there is no book. It's like realising there is no spoon, except the problem can be solved by an experienced software developer, rather than the saviour of mankind. Until now, the process of capturing, formalising, and validating the high-level specification of software has been one of these inconsistently-documented problems. Gojko Adzic has changed that by structuri ...more
Cassie Buckner
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Lots of good stuff for teams that haven’t implemented a truly agile process. I like the advocacy for trust between analysts, testers, and dev as well as the combined ownership of quality which leads to a shared understanding.
Jul 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: technical
I'm currently trying to better understand the BDD mind set and how it might improve things on my current project so I was really excited when Specification by Example showed up in my Kindle. I was looking forward to finding a whole check list of dos and don'ts to help accelerate me to BDD nirvana. Instead, I learned that implementation of SBE is very contextual -- one size does not fit all. Different teams use different techniques. The author interviewed several teams using SBE and discovered wh ...more
Kristiina Keelmann
Dec 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Gojko Adzic has taken his real-life work experience gathered over years in several different projects and turned the wisdom into a book. It's a relatively easy read, although it goes into both technical and not so technical details a lot. Together with a bunch of examples from his clients, the book can feel a bit repetitive, but there are still good ideas hidden inside.

The main takeaway for me was how important it is to nourish truly active and living collaboration during the development proces
Karl Metivier
Mar 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: agile
Gojko bring us another book about specifications. The first one was Bridging the Communication Gap: Specification by Example and Agile Acceptance Testing and talked about the author personal experience in this subject. This time, we see other people's experiences with the using of Specification by Example. In addition to that, we see how Gojko has evolved his thinking about specification and after a few chapters, we go beyond the basics.

By the way, this book doesn't talk about code or tools. Jus
Toni Tassani
Feb 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned-physical
Some practical advice around BDD and ATDD using a different acronym (SBE). The case studies in the end are really interesting.
No tool is introduced but in the examples Concordion, FitNess and Cucumber are always there. I missed more practical examples.
Deniss Ojastu
Feb 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
A book on how to create and deliver software which is (a) quality; (b) what is needed; (c) not more than needed. One way to achieve that is needs and requirements specification together with clients. In addition, using different examples illustrating what software is supposed to do.

Capturing needs, not scripts - that is probably one of the most important messages from the book.

All in all, there are very good ideas and practices presented (many of them are still ahead of their time), albeit in so
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Gojko Adzic is a partner at Neuri Consulting LLP, winner of the 2016 European Software Testing Outstanding Achievement Award, and the 2011 Most Influential Agile Testing Professional Award. Gojko's book Specification by Example won the Jolt Award for the best book of 2012, and his blog won the UK Agile Award for the best online publication in 2010.

Gojko is a frequent keynote speaker at leading so

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