Cukenfest london

a bdd conference

first week of april, 2019

Once a year in London we host a low-key agile and BDD conference. We open our doors to just 120 people to learn and discover new ways to build shared understanding in agile teams.

Software projects often fail because of a lack of communication and collaboration. If the business and IT aren’t on speaking terms, you can quickly end up building the wrong thing. By bringing the right people together from the beginning, to discover hidden information and misunderstandings, you are more likely to deliver high-quality software on time and in budget.

Our conference focuses on proven technical and non-technical techniques and tactics which you can apply in your own team.

BDD Kickstart training / April 2-3 2019

A world-class Behaviour-Driven Development training course led by Ryan Marsh.

More information

cukenfest conference / April 4-5 2019

A small, interactive two-day Agile and BDD conference. One day of short talks followed by one day of collaborative sessions and workshops. 

Both days 9 AM - 5 PM


CukenFest is brought to you by Cucumber


Attendees of CukenFest also agree to the terms of our Code of Conduct. We will enforce the CoC throughout the event. If you have any questions please contact one of the team on the day or email us


day 1 - Talks

The first day of CukenFest is a blast. There are two keynotes which will bookend the day. Other than the 30-minute keynotes, each talk is just 15 minutes, giving you a flavour of lots of things which are happening in this space, providing you with actionable insights which can help the way you deliver software. Towards the end of the day with a drink in hand, we will turn the mic to the audience and you will have the chance to give your own lightning talk.




Fighting crime and protecting vulnerable people using gherkin, autism and a half-built kit car.

This talk tells the story of how Mike and Jamie built ERMI, a tool for detecting financial crime. Mike is an expert in preventing financial crime and money laundering and Jamie is an autistic developer who normally focuses on digital accessibility. They have been friends for over a decade.

While working together building a kit car called "ERMY" they got talking about work and discussed the frustration with the tools for monitoring financial activity. Transaction monitoring rarely delivers value to the user while costing a fortune. Easily detectable crime goes undetected either because the tools are too rigid or unaffordable to those who need them.

This discussion slowly evolved (often while at least one of them was under a car holding a spanner) until they started to play. With Mike’s knowledge of regulations and crime, and Jamie's software skills could they build something? Would it be useful to other people? Could they use their experience of building cars together to build software?

ERMI was born. A lightweight transaction monitoring tool. Along the way they had to reconsider everything from the way data is stored to the way users get results.

This talk will leave the audience with details of the following:

  • Effective collaboration between disciplines (law + development)

  • How Mike and Jamie harness the strengths of autistic thinking (and manage some of the difficulties)

  • Developer productivity, how to achieve big tasks with tiny resources

  • Scaling using docker / cloud

  • Automation, BDD process and planning.

Jamie Knight (@JamieKnight) + Mike Southgate (@misterwookie)



Whole Team Quality: In the same boat or up the creek?

Those three little words. No, not those three, the other three:

“Whole Team Quality”.

We know that successful agile teams live and breathe by this principle. But what does it actually mean in practice – and what does it definitely not mean?

In this keynote, I’ll look at techniques teams can use to evolve their testers and developers and to empower the team to (want to) be responsible for quality together – without suggesting that what we really need is just a great super role that can do everything. I’ll tell some stories about things that have and haven’t worked and I’ll address some of the questions and fears that come up when we talk about whole team quality.

Alexandra Schladebeck (@alex_schl)


Why Silos are Corporate Chocolate Cake

The simple act of practicing BDD can not only create awesomeness but during the process it might mean you unearth political and delusion behavior and thinking… slap bang up against constructed silos and boundaries.

Why does that happen?  And what might we do about it?

In this short talk Katherine illuminates a very simple pattern that can help us to a) become aware and b) be more prepared for that kind of people difficulty – and most importantly inspire us to create further choices of how we might want to respond, rather than be a victim to ‘how things are’.

Katherine is a ‘student of difficulty’.  She specializes in helping people, teams, divisions and companies unwind themselves out of hell scenarios and into effectiveness by using eastern philosophical approaches that she translates into practical techniques. 

Katherine Kirk (@kkirk)


Between quality and Time to market: How to specify and test an application in an agile context with a BDD approach

How do you come to a common understanding of requirements? How can the implementation of the requirements be designed together with the department, the developers and the testers, so that it is transparent for everyone involved at every stage? How can Gherkin be used as a common language and lead to "living documentation"? Christine Groebel, Senior Business Analyst and Product Owner at BNP Paribas SA, will share her experiences of the specific challenges you face while implementing BDD in a highly regulated environment like a bank.

Christine Groebel


Collaborating on open source

There are several reasons you might want to contribute to open source software. For me, it was that I wanted to learn in a more useful way than doing programming challenges. So I looked into how I could contribute to open source projects that I use myself. After contributing for almost two years, I notice that I have learned a lot from my contributions (which has been useful at work), as well as have made friends and have become part of a community.

In this talk I will share my experience with contributing to Cucumber, including an early mistake (merging something that wasn’t ready yet) and fixing it with the support of core contributors, and still feeling welcome! You’ll learn how how to find your project and contributions to start with, how to connect with the community to make sure your contributions are useful and the many types of contributions you can make.

Contributing to open source is a way of paying back to the community. In addition, it is a way for you to learn, collaborate and become part of a community. Getting (constructive) feedback on a pull request and collaborating to make things even better is a great feeling!

Marit van Dijk (@MaritvanDijk77)


Doodle-Driven Development

Having a good example-driven conversation can be messy. Humans scribble on whiteboards, rip up index cards, and stick things to the wall.

Automating examples brings huge benefits, but forcing them into linear Gherkin doesn't always feel natural. We'll explore some more natural visual formats for examples, and how they can practically be used to drive tests.

Ciaran McNulty (@CiaranMcNulty)


The security issue that killed a financial product launch

Security issues can be identified using the stock-and-trade critical thinking skills of a tester.

Some time ago I had the pleasure of taking part in a security bug hunt for a new financial product. This was a product ready to go to market, a product that had passed all penetration tests and was now being handed to a crowd of external testers for a final attempt to 'hack' the product.

Against all their confidence I was able to 'hack' that product and use funds to which I should not have had access. However, once I reported the vulnerability, I wasn't believed and I was asked to repeat the 'hack' multiple times until the 'experts' believed I was achieving what I was reporting - they simply couldn't believe that their penetration test result was wrong.

Like many security talks I will tell you all about the tool I used to perform this 'hack'; Unlike many security talks this is not a tool you can install, rent or purchase - because it's my brain, but your brain is capable of doing the same.

Nicola Sedgwick (@nicolasedgwick)


Emotions, examples and entropy - An experience report of working with Cucumber people and methods to make better things and things better

A story of how and why we engaged Cucumber and have gradually pulled BDD methods into our practice and what/why we have held back on.

Chris Young (@worldofchris)


Cucumber in a microservices environment

I’m working for more than 2 years in a project with microservices and Cucumber. I’d like to talk a bit about what microservices are and the benefits and the downsides of them in general. Then I’ll focus on the impact of using microservices on testing, especially when you’re using cucumber.

I’ll show you, how you can continuously test and release your services isolated from each other and how to make sure, that all these independent services are still working together.

Sascha Bartels (@bartels_sascha)


Antifragility or Taming the Hydra

The name Nassim Taleb has come to be associated with the crash of financial markets, as he's predicted aptly what happened in the banking crisis of 2008 in his book ""The Black Swan"". Following from that work, ""Antifragility"" explores how trying to predict the future leaves us missing the opportunity to withstand disaster by preparing for recovery instead of trying to predict and avert the inevitable crisis.

My talk examines the concept of antifragility as part of the software development process, and how that can be applied to an agile work environment. It aims to straddle the border between development reality and a broader view on how process can be made resilient, and how we can use a philosophical approach to guide our decisions in day to day software development.

This talk offers a new perspective on many of the problems we encounter every day in software development, and I hope to illustrate that sometimes a change of perspective can point in the right direction for building resilient, lean software applications.

Katja Obring (@kokori)


Domain Storytelling - How to Learn a Domain Language with Examples from Healthcare

Understanding business rules and processes in a complex enterprise environment should be high on a priority list for a development team, as a basic precondition to be able to create solutions that provide value to the users. In order to understand the business one must learn the language in which the business operates, i.e. a domain language.

This talk will present Domain Storytelling as a lightweight technique that helps teams learn domain language in a close collaboration with domain experts using pictographic notation while highlighting the users’ most urgent needs. Using Domain Storytelling is a visual and engaging exercise on the domain experts’ terms, enabling teams to acquire knowledge about the business in an efficient way. The talk will be based on a real-world use-case from a healthcare domain.

By the end of this talk you will be equipped with the fundamental knowledge needed to practice Domain Storytelling in your own context.

Mufrid Krilic (@mufridk)

Robert Meaney.jpg

My secret example mapping shame

Most teams would agree that examples are a great way for teams to gain a better understanding of the problem they are trying to solve. The challenge, however, is getting teams to engage in productive conversations that result in realistic, concrete examples that go beyond the happy path. In this session, I'll talk about the techniques I've used to while example mapping to engage teams and unearth the valuable examples that have helped us significantly reduce our number of "Oh Crap" moments during and after development.

Robert Meaney (@RobMeaney)


Don’t Restrict Your Living Documentation to A Living Documentation

BDD has proven its capability to ensure a feature is developed correctly and meets the original idea of the product owner. But how can we ensure that this idea corresponds to the users expectations? How can we make sure that deploying this feature improves the user experience and not degrade it?

Laurent and Vincent explain how application and usage monitoring help to deliver features that matter. The first stage is to define business expectations alongside the Gherkin scenarios during the writing phase. This way, the feature file describes the two goals that the new functionality needs to meet: the behavior described by the Gherkin scenarios and the business metrics.

They also share how to monitor the impact of the implemented and deployed feature with Application Performance Management and Usage Analytics. The data gathered by APM tools enhance us to check that the deployed code don’t impact negatively the user experience. The Usage Analytics metrics ensure that the business requirements are met and that the feature is valuable for the users.

This process is strongly rooted in our development cycle. The behaviour of our application is continuously monitored to decide the fate of the features developed. With a short users’ feedback loop, we do not spend time and money on features that do not meet their needs. Thanks to this quick feedback, developers implement expected features that matter, based on users’ observation.

All data is gathered alongside the living documentation generated from the Gherkin scenarios. With this always up-to-date documentation, you can share with your stakeholders (regardless of technical skillset), the feature goal and how it benefits the users.

Laurent Py (@py_laurent) and Vincent Pretre

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Day 2 - open space and workshops

Open space allows you, the attendee, to follow your own interests with others who are tackling similar problems at work. At the start of the day over coffee we will build an agenda driven by the topics we choose and gather around. You’ll be guided by Cucumber’s Matt Wynne, an experienced BDD practitioner, coach, author and open space enthusiast. This year we’ve included a short list of workshops taking place to give you a idea of what to expect.


Experience Event Storming with Example Mapping

Discovering the unknown isn’t easy and in this area Event Storming has become a de facto standard. Similarly, Example Mapping is an awesome weapon for distilling a user story based on concrete examples. We propose you join us to experience a workshop where you will practice Event Storming reinforced by Example Mapping.

Bruno Boucard (@brunoboucard) and Thomas Pierrain (@tpierrain)


Gherkin Refactoring Patterns

Good Gherkin is easy to read but hard to write. And while there are many tips and tricks for writing good Gherkin, often teams still struggle to keep their scenarios clean, informative and readable.

In this talk, we will take a practical look at some real-world Gherkin scenarios, and see why they stink. More importantly, we present a set of simple refactoring patterns which can help you improve your own scenarios.

John Ferguson Smart (@wakaleo) and Tom Roden (@TommRoden)


How to use service design, lean and agile to build products that customers actually love

This interactive session provides an overview of various methodologies and discusses how each of them can be applied to support design and delivery of digital products and services. The session will explore four stages of Double Diamond and core activities and artefacts applicable for each of the stages. It will also cover the benefits of using Lean for rapid prototyping and how the backlog can be matured as the prototype evolves to feed into the agile delivery.

Svetlana Tarnagurskaja


Recycling examples

Have you ever wondered how you can recycle your Gherkin examples and verify different parts of your application using the same example?

This is a two two part problem:
* implement an adapter for each seam you want to connect through
* use the adapter when running Cucumber

Thomas will show an example using Cucumber-JVM where he recycles examples by varying adapters. The result is fast feedback if the business logic is broken. Slower but accurate feedback if the delivery mechanism is broken.

At the end of the day, you can be certain that you won't let your users down when they get to use the application.

There will be code implemented and executed on stage that will show one way of recycling examples.

Thomas Sundberg (@thomassundberg)


10 Reasons For Missing Deadlines & How To Fight Them

Koncerthuset in Copenhagen was two years late, three times over budget. Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg was seven years late and ten times over-budget.
Sounds familiar? Missing deadlines is something software development is notorious for. And yet, it is not the only industry suffering from that. The art of building has existed for tens of thousands of years, and still, over and over, many construction projects go overtime.
This collaborative session is for developers, development managers, product owners, and for everyone who has ever had to deal with a deadline. The participants will learn 10 reasons why deadlines can be missed, and will go home equipped with some techniques to fix that problem.

Elena Nikolaeva


Machine data: how to handle it better?

The rise of IoT and smart infrastructure has led to the generation of massive amounts of complex data. Traditional solutions struggle to cope with this shift, leading to a decrease in performance and an increase in cost. In this talk, we will take a look at this kind of data using a simulated Curiosity rover. Participants will learn how to create a data pipeline for ingestion and visualisation. By the end of this session, we will be able to set up a highly scalable data pipeline for complex time series data with real time query performance.

Tanay Pant (@tanay1337)

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Venues and timings

BDD Kickstart training (April 2nd-3rd 2019) - TBC - Old Street/Shoreditch

CukenFest London (April 4th-5th 2019) WallaceSpace, Spitalfields [maps]

Each day will start at 9AM and finish at around 5PM. 




Shoreditch and Spitalfields is awash with hotels and other accommodation options. If you’re looking for something easy, we’ve partnered with Travelodge London Liverpool Street, to create a dedicated booking link below.



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