November 22, 2006

...Learn TDD with Codemanship

Test-driven Development - A Programmer's Prerogative?

It can be quite disheartening when developers tell you that their managers "won't allow them" to use simple best practices like test-driven development. What's frustrating is that they feel the decision isn't theirs to make for themselves. Why not?

TDD requires no investment in software licenses. It's a pretty simple process, and most developers can pick it up just by watching other developers do it for a couple of hours. Most importantly - and I can say this from practical experience - code takes no longer to deliver (and usually takes less time to deliver) with TDD. If you didn't tell them, your managers probably wouldn't have a clue that you were doing it. And arguably it's none of their beeswax if you do decide to do it.

And yet so many teams feel that it's not for them to make that call. If it were me, and my managers were telling me I couldn't do TDD, I'd tell them to go f**k themselves. But then, that's probably because I feel confident enough about my career to assert myself and what I believe is the right thing to do. Less confident developers might feel that they'd be risking their livelihoods if they stand up to be counted.

The best advice I've ever come across is to work like you don't need the money. And it's true that TDD seems to blossom in pastures where more people feel this way. In organisations that are driven by fear, the seeds of TDD - and many other common sense practices - tend to fall on stony ground.
Posted 14 years, 8 months ago on November 22, 2006