In the context of BDD, automation is where formalized scenarios (e.g. Gherkin, Given-When-Then) are turned into automated acceptance tests. It is the last step in BDD, after Discovery and Formulation. Automated acceptance tests significantly reduce efforts for regression testing and provide immediate feedback when the specification documentation doesn’t match the system behavior anymore (hence the term Living Documentation).
Automation is most efficient with acceptance test driven development as a whole team approach. When dev teams outsource automation to dedicated automation roles or teams, handoffs, misunderstandings, and competing priorities tend to impact accuracy and efficiency. Although teams can still gain value from BDD when skipping Automation, Automationis recommended to reap all of BDD’s benefits.