Friday, May 09, 2014

Is TDD dead?

Is TDD dead? The question drove today the hangout between Kent Beck, Martin Fowler and David Heinemeier Hanssom.

David is challenging the TDD supporters stating that doing TDD feels most of the time unnatural and not enjoyable. While Kent and Martin agree that TDD is not the perfect solution to resolve all problems they argue it has had a tremendous value for many projects they have had in their hands.

Probably Test Driven Development is not a good technique for all projects, however Test Driven Delivery is. I mean you would never come up with "continuous delivery with high quality" if you do not think about how would you test the feature you are about to ship up front.

Have you ever wondered why so many development teams state exactly the same "Business does not know what they want"? Probably if Business would think about how to test their idea once it is implemented they would not ask for unnecessary features and forget about important ones.

Have you ever wondered why the defect ratio is making impossible for the team to deliver a feature in less than a week? Perhaps if not only user stories but a clear acceptance test criteria (and test cases derived from it) would have been provided the developer would have been automated them because of course the developer is lazy and will not spend time testing manually in two, three or four different environments.

I would say Test Driven Delivery is very much alive. Is the enforcement of Test Driven Development not good?, probably yes if it is an imposition and not a necessity. Velocity and enjoyment cannot be increased at the expense of business value creation.

"In what ways can a desire to TDD damage an architecture?" is the question Martin proposed to be answered. Show us the numbers for a conclusive answer.

There is definitely a way to go from few features delivered once a month to increasingly delivering new features at a quicker pace to achieve multiple daily deployments. That cannot be achieved without the confidence Kent is advocating for.

Make sure issues are required to come with test cases up front, ideas are required to come with acceptance criteria up front and make sure the tests run before the feature is considered delivered.

If Business complains about too much time being spent on testing then keep a backlog of all the acceptance criteria test cases that can be manually followed but were not yet automated, measure the defect ratio AND the cycle time to deliver features (not bug resolutions). Switch back to providing the tests and measure again. The numbers should show that over a period of 3 months the team is able to deliver more features when providing test automation. But ultimately it will demonstrate that having test procedures documented is the very first step to deliver beautiful software that just work as intended, with no more and no less than what is actually required to make money. IMO Quality is the most important non functional requirement.

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