Bridging the Communication Gap: Specification by Example and Agile Acceptance Testing

by Gojko Adzic

Bridging the Communication Gap is a book about improving communication between customers, business analysts, developers and testers on software projects, especially by using specification by example and agile acceptance testing. These two key emerging software development practices can significantly improve the chances of success of a software project. They ensure that all project participants speak the same language, and build a shared and consistent understanding of the domain. This leads to better specifications, flushes out incorrect assumptions and ensures that functional gaps are discovered before the development starts. With these practices in place you can build software that is genuinely fit for purpose.

This book is primarily intended for product owners, business analysts, software developers and testers who want to learn about agile acceptance testing and implement it. It should also prove to be interesting to project managers working on software projects, both within the implementation team and on the customer side. It is intended both for people already working with agile processes and for people who wish to migrate to them.

Read this book to:

  • learn how to improve communication between business people and software implementation teams
  • find out how to build a shared and consistent understanding of the domain in your team
  • learn how to apply agile acceptance testing to produce software genuinely fit for purpose
  • discover how agile acceptance testing affects your work whether you are a programmer, business analyst or a tester
  • learn how to build in quality into software projects from the start, rather than control it later


"This book is a must read for anyone involved in creating a product; management, testers and developers. Use it to change the way you think projects should be run and close those communication gaps." — Toby Henderson


"I wish that the book had been available a few years ago when the company I was at (and myself) were trying out agile. Could have been a lot easier and more successful if we’d read it." — Philip Kirkham


"If you’ve tried agile acceptance testing you’ll know that as well as being a really exciting it’s also incredibly difficult. Luckily we now have a book that helps guide us through the many tricky choices that we face, practical and pragmatic advice that even the most experienced agile developer should be aware of." — Colin Jack, Senior Software Developer, FNZ


"Effective software development is all about good communication and this book explains the toolkit that allows us to do this effectively. Worth reading whatever your role is."  — Mark Needham


"Whether you’re new to testing, new to agile, or an old pro at one or both, you’ll experience “aha” moments that will inspire your team as you read. This book will challenge some of your preconceived notions and make you think. It paves the way for people in different roles, such as business analysts, QA engineers and developers, to adapt to a more productive agile approach. From practical ways to improve communication with customers, to helpful examples of useful test tools, this book is a major addition to our agile testing knowledge base." — Lisa Crispin, co-author, Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams


"Have you ever wanted a better way to communicate, clarify and satisfy business requirements? Wouldn’t it be great if those requirements evolved along with the software, always consistent and clear? And those requirements helped drive development so that we knew when we were done? With clarity, Gojko describes an elegance and effective way of achieving this with the whole team: Inventing, thinking and communicating with specific, insightful examples that also serve as acceptance tests."  — Rick Mugridge, lead author of “Fit for Developing Software”, Prentice Hall, 2005.


"Gojko addresses an underrated point: that Test-Driven Requirements, or Executable Requirements, are not about tools, automated tests, or even professionalism. They are about communication. I wish each of my colleagues and clients had a copy of his book, and maybe that fact will be made just a little bit clearer to them."  — Eric Lefevre-Ardant, Agile Coach and Developer


"As a tester, I welcome any opportunity to increase shared understanding of requirements and expectations – our team will be relying on this book to guide us as we begin our journey with agile acceptance testing."  —  Marisa Seal


"This book will help you to avoid some mistakes in agile acceptance testing. It will also increase your confidence in implementing new process, help to change tester’s view and identify next steps. The most important part, this book is written by a real practitioner with some real-life examples. Believe me, you would be at least 6 months ahead of the game in Agile QA by just reading Gojko’s book."  — Gennady Kaganer, QA Manager at Standard and Poor’s


"Gojko applies his experience to the practice of producing software that is useful to end users. This is an important work in extending the test-driven specification of software beyond individual units and into the sum of the parts."  —  Bob Clancy 


"Bridging the Communication Gap will not only bring you up-to-date with the latest thinking about agile acceptance testing, but also guide you as you put the ideas into practice. This book is packed with insights from Adzic’s experience in the field."  —  David Peterson, creator of the Concordion acceptance-testing framework


"I’m convinced that the practice of agile acceptance testing, done properly, can make a dramatic improvement to both the communication with the customer and the quality of the final product. This book is a solid introduction to the subject, and represents the first attempt I’ve seen to survey the practice as a whole without focusing on a single tool or technology."  —  Geoff Bache


"Gojko’s book is a worthwhile read for both managers and practitioners. It is both complete in its content and inspirational in its message." —  David Vydra