The Specification by Example (SBE) is a fundamental guideline for automation testing in software development, ensuring that the final product aligns precisely with customer requirements. It utilizes a collaborative technique that involves defining and verifying requirements through realistic examples. A vital objective of SBE in automation testing is to create software that not only meets but exceeds the needs and prospects of consumers and stakeholders. However, it’s essential to recognize that SBE involves dynamic scenarios, necessitating effective handling of changes and feedback. A class of test automation tools supports this process, dividing automation testing into specification and automation layers.

SBE encourages association among business representatives, developers, managers, and testers. The focus is on defining and validating requirements through genuine examples, nurturing a shared understanding within the team. SBE is enhanced by integrating test automation tools, dividing testing into two layers: specification and automation. These tools streamline the testing process, ensuring that examples serve as specifications and the foundation for automated testing.

Understanding the Essence of SBE

SBE is a collective approach to defining and verifying changes and feedback through realistic examples. These examples serve as a bridge between the understanding of business needs and the implementation of software features.

It’s crucial to acknowledge that SBE scenarios are not static documents; instead, they are dynamic living specifications. This implies that handling changes and feedback effectively becomes a cornerstone for successful SBE implementation. The process is supported by test automation tools that manage automation testing in two distinct aspects: the specification and the automation layer. This dual-layered approach ensures that the examples provided define the expected behavior and serve as a basis for automated testing.

Tips on Handling Changes and Feedback on SBE Scenarios

SBE scenarios are dynamic entities that evolve throughout the development process. Managing changes and incorporating feedback is crucial to the SBE methodology, ensuring that scenarios accurately represent the current needs and expectations of the project.

Implementing Version Control

Incorporating version control is a pivotal and foundational step in adeptly managing changes and feedback within SBE scenarios. By housing scenarios in a version-controlled repository, teams gain the ability to meticulously track and administer revisions, branches, merges, and conflicts.

This facilitates seamless collaboration among team members and enables the integration of scenarios with automation tools. Utilizing version control further facilitates the implementation of a continuous delivery pipeline, ensuring a streamlined and efficient development process.

Ensuring the Three Cs

The three Cs – card, conversation, and confirmation – embody a fundamental guiding principle in navigating changes and feedback within SBE scenarios. Rigorously adhering to these principles involves anchoring scenarios to a user story or feature (card), engaging in a thorough discussion with the customer or product owner (conversation), and executing a test to verify the anticipated outcome (confirmation). This meticulous adherence is a linchpin in maintaining the relevance, clarity, and alignment of scenarios with overarching business goals.

Reviewing and Improving

The regular and systematic refinement and review of SBE scenarios are paramount in ensuring their efficacy. Approaching scenarios as dynamic entities rather than fixed artifacts and applying principles of refactoring, including eliminating duplication and simplifying expressions, stands as a best practice. Engaging in reviews with the entire team and stakeholders through peer reviews or retrospectives validates the scenarios’ accuracy, completeness, and consistency, promoting a culture of continuous improvement.

Prioritizing and Updating

A pragmatic approach to handling changes in SBE scenarios involves prioritizing and regularly updating scenarios based on evolving needs and project priorities. Concentrating efforts on the most crucial and valuable scenarios mitigates unnecessary complexity, ensuring the team remains focused on delivering high-impact outcomes.

Leveraging tracking tools such as Jira or Trello for effective communication of scenario status, coupled with the integration of automation tools like Cucumber or SpecFlow for frequent validation, guarantees that scenarios accurately reflect the current state of the software.

Learning and Refining

Embracing SBE scenarios as integral components of a continuous feedback loop is foundational to driving ongoing improvement. Using scenarios to measure and monitor software quality and performance enables identifying and resolving the root causes of defects.

Actively incorporating feedback from stakeholders and end-users becomes a catalyst for validating and enhancing examples, aligning them with evolving business goals, and fostering adaptability to changing requirements. This iterative and learning-centric approach solidifies the role of scenarios as dynamic assets that contribute not just to the immediate development process but also to the overarching evolution and enhancement of the software product.

Using SBE for Cloud Testing and Cloud Platforms

Cloud testing involves utilizing cloud computing services to test applications in various environments and scenarios. Cloud platforms like LambdaTest help you automate complex or uncertain scenarios with specifications. LambdaTest is an AI-powered test orchestration and execution platform that empowers developers and testers to perform automation testing seamlessly on over 3000+ real browsers and operating system combinations. It provides test automation with different frameworks like Selenium, Playwright, Cypress, Appium, and more.

LambdaTest goes beyond the usual automation capabilities, making it an invaluable tool for handling complex testing scenarios. With its user-friendly interface and advanced features, teams can effortlessly automate tests, ensuring efficient and effective testing across various browsers and operating systems. In essence, LambdaTest is a versatile and robust companion for those looking to enhance their automation testing processes.

The combination of SBE with cloud testing and cloud platforms can yield several benefits for software development.

  • Access on demand: Cloud platforms provide access to diverse testing environments and tools on demand, eliminating the need to install and maintain them on local infrastructure.
  • Scalability: Testing resources can be scaled up or down according to project needs, and payment is based on actual usage.
  • Acceptance testing on the cloud: Executing executable examples as acceptance tests on the cloud enables verification of system specifications in different conditions.
  • Efficient feedback loop: Cloud platforms facilitate easier collection and analysis of feedback from stakeholders and users, allowing for prompt updates to examples and the system.

Despite the benefits, integrating cloud testing and cloud platforms with SBE presents certain challenges that need careful consideration.

  • Security and privacy: Ensuring the security and privacy of data and code on the cloud and compliance with relevant regulations and standards is paramount.
  • Communication and collaboration: Managing communication and collaboration among team members and stakeholders using different cloud platforms and tools requires effective coordination.
  • Network issues: Potential network latency, bandwidth, and availability issues may impact the performance and reliability of cloud testing and the system.

Realizing the Potential and Applicability of SBE

The effective application of SBE holds the potential to satisfy all parties involved in software development. Business representatives gain a comprehensive understanding of the software to be built, testers receive concrete test scenarios, developers are provided with a clear task, and project managers encounter fewer delays and interpretation-related disputes.

SBE is most beneficial for projects with organizational and domain complexities that hinder clear communication of requirements in the business domain. It has found successful implementation in diverse domains such as investment banking, financial trading, insurance, airline booking, online gaming, and price comparison.

Benefits of Effective Application of SBE

Satisfying all Stakeholders

Business representatives gain a comprehensive understanding of the envisioned software, receiving precisely what they expect. Testers benefit from explicit and well-defined test scenarios, enhancing clarity and specificity in their testing tasks. Developers are provided with clear tasks, reducing ambiguity and improving overall efficiency. Project managers experience fewer delays and disputes based on interpretation, leading to smoother project management.

Applicability to Complex Projects

SBE proves most effective in projects characterized by organizational and domain complexities that challenge understanding and communicating requirements. It may be less suitable for projects focused on purely technical issues or those with straightforward knowledge transfer requirements.

Documented Success in Various Industries

SBE boasts a documented track record of success across diverse industries, including but not limited to investment banking, financial trading, insurance, airline booking, online gaming, and price comparison. Its versatility shines in addressing complex requirements and fostering effective communication.

Challenges and Considerations in SBE

Dynamic Nature of Scenarios

The dynamic nature of SBE scenarios introduces the challenge of effectively managing changes and feedback. Continuous attention is essential to ensure that scenarios remain accurate and aligned with the project’s evolving needs.

Complexity Threshold

SBE is most effective in projects with a significant complexity level that justifies using realistic examples for clear communication. Projects with straightforward technical requirements may find SBE more complex for their needs.

Knowledge Transfer

SBE relies on effective communication and knowledge transfer among team members. In projects where understanding or transferring knowledge lacks significant complexity, SBE may introduce unnecessary overhead. Balancing the level of detail with the project’s needs is crucial for successful knowledge transfer in SBE.

Significance of SBE in Understanding Abstract Concepts

Highly abstract and novel concepts can be challenging to understand without concrete examples. This challenge is particularly prominent in software development, where abstract concepts may lead to misunderstandings, rework, and a lack of alignment among different roles involved in the process.

SBE emerges as a powerful approach to address these challenges. By providing concrete examples, SBE contributes to building an accurate understanding, thereby reducing feedback loops, minimizing rework, improving product quality, and enhancing coordination among various roles in software development.


In conclusion, Specification by Example is not just a set of guidelines; it’s a philosophy that, when effectively applied, transforms the software development process. Its emphasis on concrete examples, collaboration, and adaptability positions it as a cornerstone for delivering software that meets and exceeds expectations. Integrating SBE with cloud testing and platforms further elevates its efficacy, offering scalability, efficiency, and an improved feedback loop.

As we navigate the complexities of software development, SBE stands out as a reliable compass, guiding us toward delivering software that truly aligns with the needs of customers and stakeholders.