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Making Software by Greg Wilson, Andy Oram

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Conclusions

The effects of TDD still involve many unknowns. Indeed, the evidence is not undisputedly consistent regarding TDD’s effects on any of the measures we applied: internal and external quality, productivity, or test quality. Much of the inconsistency likely can be attributed to internal factors not fully described in the TDD trials. Thus, TDD is bound to remain a controversial topic of debate and research.

For practitioners looking for some actionable advice, our expert panel recommends taking the TDD pill, carefully monitoring its interactions and side effects, and increasing or decreasing the dosage accordingly. So we end with some specific prescriptions from individual members of our team, after reviewing the data:

We’ve been able to compile the evidence, but each reader has to make up his or her own mind. First, decide which qualities matter most to you. For example, do you care more about productivity or external quality? Can you justify spending more effort to create higher-quality tests? The evidence in this chapter is useful only for making decisions based on each reader’s specific goals.

I have taken the TDD pill and become hooked. My personal experience has been that TDD improves productivity, although evidence from our study is lacking in this regard. Perhaps mine was simply a perception. Based on these results, especially based on the evidence regarding its conservatively positive impact on external quality, if I weren’t already using TDD, I’d start having my team ...

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