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Value Driven Development

Why are we writing software?  People are doing things that matter to them.  Software supports and enables them to fulfill on what really matters.  Nobody is born and says “I love bytes.  What really matters to me is sitting in front of a screen all day.”  The user of the software has real dreams and desires.  Software, at it’s best, can magnify their ability to achieve those dreams.

How do we create software that has the maximum impact on what matters to our users?  Assuming that their business process is effective (who knows how much business value could be derived from the question “what is important to us and how do we fulfill on that?”), the question becomes “what will this software do to produce outcomes that matter to the customer?”

Ultimately, it’s the outcome that matters.  The customer cares about the behavior of the software, but as a means to their ends.  The metaphor that most completely captures and illustrates puts this outcome at the forefront, as the driver of the process.  How would we communicate this?

???? Driven Development:

  • Outcome DD
  • Value DD
  • Result DD

The question that the customer needs to answer for themselves is “what’s most important?  Maybe an access is “why do you do this?”  This would be an ongoing question.  The process is then to continually declare and implement behaviors (what it does) to fulfill on these (why it does it).  Obviously a domain language would be invented and agreed upon so what matters can be faithfully translated – to outcomes, then behaviors, and finally into code – without losing any of the juice.

It could look something like this:

  • What matters: our customers are served as quickly as possible and back to their full lives
  • Outcome: customers can process common transactions without a representative
  • Sub-outcome: customers can withdraw cash from a machine using a card
  • And then BDD takes over…

 What would this achieve?

  • customers would be focused on and present to what really matters, supporting them in discovering and specifying requirements that will stick earlier
  • customers are clear about the value they have received
  • developers are fulfilled and focused because they understand and get committed to what matters to the customers
  • code is written with its ultimate objective palpably available
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