Announcing DaSpec — awesome executable specifications in Markdown

It’s my great pleasure to announce the immediate availability of DaSpec v1.0, the first stable version ready for production use. DaSpec is an automation framework for Executable Specifications in Markdown. It can help you:

  • Share information about planned features with non-technical stakeholders easily, and get actionable unambiguous feedback from them
  • Ensure and document shared understanding of the planned software, making the definition of done stronger and more objective
  • Document software features and APIs in a way that is easy to understand and maintain, so you can reduce the bus factor of your team and onboard new team members easily
  • Make any kind of automated tests readable to non-technical team members and stakeholders

DaSpec helps teams achieve those benefits by validating human-readable documents against a piece of software, similar to tools such as FitNesse, Cucumber or Concordion. The major difference is that DaSpec works with Markdown, a great, intuitive format that is well supported by a large ecosystem of conversion, editing and processing tools. Run and play with the key examples in your browser now, without installing any software, to see what DaSpec could do for you.

DaSpec’s primary target are teams practising Behaviour Driven Development, Specification by Example, ATDD and generally running short, frequent delivery cycles with a heavy dependency on test automation. It can, however, be useful to anyone looking to reduce the cost of discovering outdated information in documentation and tests.

For more information on what’s new in version 1.0, check out the release notes.

The first version of DaSpec supports automation using JavaScript only. We plan to port it to other platforms depending on the community feedback. Get in touch and let us know what you’d like to see next.

What is your #1 software delivery challenge?

I’d love to reboot my blog and monthly newsletter with inspiring and educational information, to help you get better outcomes with your teams. I finally have some time to write again, but I’d like to try something a bit different – and ask people what they wanted to learn about.

If you could take just five minutes and tell me what is the single biggest challenge that you’re struggling with at the moment, I’d appreciate it very much, and more importantly I will be able to use that information to cover the topics that you specifically want to know about.

I’m collecting the information using SurveyGizmo. Please fill in this quick survey to help steer me!

Fifty Quick Ideas To Improve Your Tests now available

My new book, Fifty Quick Ideas to Improve Your Tests, is now available on Amazon. Grab it at 50% discount before Friday:

This book is for cross-functional teams working in an iterative delivery environment, planning with user stories and testing frequently changing software under tough time pressure. This book will help you test your software better, easier and faster. Many of these ideas also help teams engage their business stakeholders better in defining key expectations and improve the quality of their software products.

For more info, check out

To improve testing, snoop on the competition

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Fifty Quick Ideas To Improve Your Tests

snoop on competitionAs a general rule, teams focus the majority of testing activities on their zone of control, on the modules they develop, or the software that they are directly delivering. But it’s just as irresponsible not to consider competition when planning testing as it is in the management of product development in general, whether the field is software or consumer electronics.

Software products that are unique are very rare, and it’s likely that someone else is working on something similar to the product or project that you are involved with at the moment. Although the products might be built using different technical platforms and address different segments, key usage scenarios probably translate well across teams and products, as do the key risks and major things that can go wrong.

When planning your testing activities, look at the competition for inspiration — the cheapest mistakes to fix are the ones already made by other people. Although it might seem logical that people won’t openly disclose information about their mistakes, it’s actually quite easy to get this data if you know where to look. Continue reading