Test-Driven Development (TDD): How to choose the Right Team To Drive TDD (Part 1)
This is the first in a series of blog posts in which we outline the benefits of TDD for your organization and what are the projects to consider while adopting this agile process. Link of Part Two.
Test-Driven Development essentially lets the testing process drive the development and design of your application. This incorporates acceptance tests, functional tests, and unit tests. It leads you to create very different kinds of tests that tend to be more resilient to change in the future because you’re verifying behaviors rather than testing pieces of code.
If you are asking why TDD, we will just say that “it’s the easiest way to get both good test coverage and good quality code, which leads to 40%-80% fewer bugs in production”. Wouldn’t it be better to write the code in a manner where a bug can be spotted immediately and not after the production stage?
If this sounds good to you, let’s go to the next step. How do you successfully roll out TDD in your organization with the right team?
We’ll explore this here, as well as share some important insights on TDD.
What Are The Expected Benefits of TDD?
Better designed, extensible, and cleaner code: It helps to understand how the code will interact with other modules and will be used. It results in more maintainable code and better design decisions.
It helps in writing smaller code having single responsibility rather than monolithic procedures with multiple responsibilities. This makes the code simpler to understand.
Reduced Scrap work and Time to Repair: TDD allows problems to be detected as early as possible, which has the effect of reducing the number of bugs. De facto, the technical debt is better controlled with a reusable, maintainable, and flexible code that allows the addition of new functionalities and reduces time to repair.
Eliminates fear of change: Developers get quick alerts when a code change introduces a bug, and TDD’s tight feedback loop quickly notifies them when it’s fixed.
Better code coverage: It provides better code coverage than writing tests after the fact. Because we create code to make a specific test pass, code coverage will be close to 100%.
Faster developer feedback loop: Without TDD, developers are supposed to manually test each change to make sure that it works. With TDD, unit tests can run on-change automatically, allowing faster-debugging sessions and feedback during development.
Common Pitfalls of TDD
Time-Intensive: While TDD generally results in higher-quality code, it is often a time-consuming process. But at the same time creating and maintaining a test suite, in addition to the software itself, is a significant investment.
Many teams have seen significant reductions in defect rates, at the cost of a moderate increase in the initial development effort.
Increased Overhead: The TDD process involves a great deal of overhead in the form of unit tests. Poor choices of testing, design, or architecture strategy at the early stage can be difficult to recover later in the project. Hence, it becomes difficult or impossible to make changes in the codebase without making dozens or hundreds of existing tests fail.
Whereas, businesses that prefer to invest time in manual QA, or the ones that lack the technical resources to implement unit tests, are not the ideal candidates for TDD.
Choosing projects for TDD
Existing Project (Legacy code) And New Projects
A common TDD implementation problem rears its ugly head when an organization has inherited a system that wasn’t built with testability in mind. In such scenarios, questions arise like — Should the code be refactored? If so, how much refactoring is important to start practicing TDD in an achievable, and meaningful way?
So, if the legacy code is already out there and working, the risk associated with the technical debt is low relative to the risk of new untested work. By applying TDD to the new code you’re writing, i.e., making changes in the existing code, you minimize the risk as well as don’t increase the technical debt.
Microservice-based architectures have far more complexities and dependencies than traditional application stacks. Creating tests for microservices-based applications and other complex architectures can be difficult due to the requirement for advanced stubbing and mocking.
A microservice-based architecture, however, presents the opportunity to leverage TDD best practices in a very efficient way. The TDD pragmatist approach becomes very useful when you think about treating the microservice as the unit, rather than the compilation unit.
Who should use it?
Most organizations simply do not have enough developers or time to cover all of their use-cases. This is especially true for enterprises that have a mix of skills and roles contributing to their projects.
Leveraging TDD helps address the issue of limited technical resources by defining tests against the contract.
With this approach, stakeholders, business analysts, testers, and other non-developer resources together can contribute to the TDD testing efforts since the Requirement Gathering phase.
TDD is a process that helps you start development projects with a healthy base of tests to ensure software quality throughout the development lifecycle. It helps you to produce maintainable, testable, and efficient code. But real-world conditions do not always make TDD adoption easy. It depends totally on your product requirement and can be made easier with the kind of team you have onboard.
Contact us to know more about the development process and how we can help you to build and launch your application.
In Part Two, we enumerated the skills and factors to consider while picking the best team. And we highlighted the right questions to ask the team to ensure how your requirements will be met w.r.t. the project.
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