Unit testing, an essential component of agile software development, is on the rise as agile development continues to grow. Agile development is becoming the new norm, with organizations under increased pressure to move away from traditional waterfall development and migrate to agile development in order to cope with today’s digital transformation and need for quicker release cycles.
In order to help organizations and development teams make this transition smoother, Israel-based automated unit testing company Typemock has released a new guide to help developers perform better unit testing.
“Agile is no longer the domain of scrappy startups or early-adopters. But as larger organizations recognize the digital transformation and adapt agility, they should look at the experts who have been pioneering agile development to help them overcome their challenges,” said Eli Lopian, Typemock’s CEO. “Therefore we are providing our guideline to help large businesses succeed with unit testing.”
The following are guidelines to help organizations succeed.
Identify what makes a good unit test.
By identifying the characteristics of a great unit test, it will be easier to increase adoption. A great unit test will fail only when a bug has been introduced, it will fail fast – providing instant feedback, and ensure that it is easy to understand what scenario is being tested and needs fixing.
Know what to test – and what not to.
Code coverage is not the most important metric. Companies don’t need to strive to 100% testing coverage. Rather, they need to make sure that they are testing the high-impact code and test what is mission-critical.
Don’t ignore legacy code
It’s much easier to test new, green-field code, than it is to test existing in-production legacy code. If it’s in production and it’s working, too many organizations don’t test. That also increases technical debt and hinders their ability to make changes and product upgrades. If you don’t want to have to rewrite your product from scratch, make sure to test legacy code.
The advantage of automation
Traditionally, in waterfall development, testing was conducted at the end of development by the QA team. At that point, errors found were harder to change, with many companies choosing to leave non-critical bugs in their final released software. This creates more technical debt and bugs and quality issues creep in. By relying on automation, issues get fixed at the source and the quality of your software increases – paying dividends instead of increasing debt. Automation makes the job much easier – which encourages adoption among your team.
Tap into tooling
Manual test frameworks are an important part of unit testing. But they are not enough. Relying on manual frameworks is insufficient – it’s like using a screwdriver to renovate your house instead of a drill. Just as a construction worker uses the best tool to ensure high building quality, software developers need good tooling to ensure high software quality.
Take advantage of the best tooling in the market that serves your needs. There are many development tools that can help make coding easier and your development faster, achieving key business goals.
Development practices change over time as business needs adapt. Agile development has only existed as a formal idea for a decade. Today, businesses need to be able to quickly adapt and development has to be responsive. With new programming languages, new practices, and constant learning, you need to keep learning. Books like The Art of Unit Testing, eBooks, webinars, and more help developers stay at the top of their skills. Join user groups and online discussion. Always keep learning. It’s important not to let skills ossify.
Be Flexible – – Follow best practices but also do what works.
Some companies have been turned off of agile development because they get too caught up in the ceremony – daily standup meetings, strict rules, and formal structures that differ than what they had done before. But that’s a misunderstanding of agile. Focus on the values not the structure. Best practices are useful but the most important best practices are the ones that work for your team and your organization. As the Agile Manifesto states, value “individuals and interactions over processes and tools.”
“Medium and large companies are now embracing agile. However, the transition can be difficult,” noted Lopian. “Despite the known benefits of unit testing, many organizations need to adapt – they are still working on legacy code and teams have to learn a new way of working,”