• Jaikishan Jalan

Value Driven Development: Missing 'So What'​ behind software development

I love behavior driven development (BDD). I think it provides a framework to use the same language across the company and within engineering team. If BDD is new to you, please see this wikipedia article for a more in-depth overview of BDD.

Over these years, I realized that BDD lacks is 'so what' behind the feature built. In other words, it lacks the ability to effectively communicate the value that feature creates objectively for various stakeholders of the product. This is the problem that Value Driven Development (VDD) solves. It provides a unified language across the business and product team to build a feature and objectively communicate the motivation driven behind it.

Let's consider an example where the product team wants to improve search time in the product. In BDD world, we would create a story as follows:

As a user, I should be able to search product catalog by its name within 1 second.

The story often lacks 'so what' or 'why' behind it. In VDD, we would rephrase this story as:

As a user, I should be able to search product catalog by name within 1 second so I can complete my transaction 30% (or more) faster.

At the heart, VDD is inspired from learn->measure->build philosophy. Before building anything, as a company, you want to first figure out what you want to learn about your user, figure out how you are going to measure it and then figure out what you want to build in order to do that.

We have been using Mixpanel and various other tools to effectively implement VDD. In the next blog, I will cover this in more details. Meanwhile, I am curious to hear how do you effectively communicate value or so what behind a feature in your group. Please drop in your comments.

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