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Using Behavioral Driven Development (BDD) in Capstone Design Projects

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Design in Engineering Education Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1322.1 - 24.1322.14



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Paper Authors


Ana Elisa E. Goulart Texas A&M University

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Ana Elisa Goulart received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Federal School of Engineering of Itajuba (EFEI), in Brazil. While working in the industry, she received a M. Sc. degree in Information Systems Management from the Pontificial Catholic University of Campinas, in 1997. She moved to the United States in 1997 where she earned a M. Sc. in Computer Engineering at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC; followed by a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA, in 2005. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Electronics Systems Engineering Technology program at Texas A&M University, in College Station, TX. Her research interests include protocols for real-time voice and video communications and their performance, IP-based emergency communications, last-mile communication links for the SmartGrid, rural telecommunications, and behavior-driven development.

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Using Behavioral Driven Development (BDD) in a Capstone Design Project  The Requirements Phase is the most unstable lifecycle component of a product. Manymore assumptions are made about a product at the requirements phase than at later stages.However, only at later stages the features become better understood. This volatile aspectis a leading cause of ambiguous, incomplete, or logically inconsistent featurespecification. Engineers design and implement based upon these weak definitions. Thispropagates requirement decisions and errors into later stages. Unfortunately, fixing theerrors at later stages costs more, sometimes exponentially more.Behavior Driven Development (BDD) is a new way to address this problem. By engagingthe entire design team during requirements definition, the BDD discussion processclarifies expected behavior of a product’s features. Using plain, non-technical languageof the business domain, the team describes how a feature will behave for the end userunder various circumstances.Given the benefits of the BDD approach for product development, can a team ofundergraduate students apply BDD in their Capstone Design project? Would the BDDapproach help them specify the features and scenarios of their final prototype? Would theBDD scenarios help students communicate with their industry sponsor?This paper will address the above questions, and present an application of BDD in aCapstone Project that began in Spring 2013. The project in this case study is a healthmonitoring system. It involves both software and hardware development, for it integratesan IP-based emergency calling system, an Android application, and a heart-monitoringsensor. The project’s goal is to provide health and emergency personnel with the enduser’s real-time vital signs during an emergency call.The students have included BDD scenarios as one of their deliverables, and have workedclosely with the sponsor on these scenarios. As the team heads toward the project’scompletion and testing in the Fall of 2013, we are evaluating the use of BDD as a projectmanagement tool that can be taught to undergraduate engineering students. We are alsodocumenting the impact of the BDD approach in the Requirements and Testing phases ofthe current Capstone project.

Goulart, A. E. E. (2014, June), Using Behavioral Driven Development (BDD) in Capstone Design Projects Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23255

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