February 22, 2006 - A Recipe For Making Developers Write Tests

This is the only thing that has ever worked for me.

1. Test your own code as well as you can
2. Next time someone checks in a slap-your-forehead bug, show them the test that would have caught the bug if only they had run the tests.
3. Show them how to run the tests themselves

It won't be long until everyone will want to have tests.

Most developers will not make the investment until they have seen proven returns. The management challenge is to find the early adopter with the courage and vision to take that first step.

Posted by Kevin Lawrence at February 22, 2006 09:31 AM

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A few years ago I was working on a pretty complex test driven J2EE project with lots of scope for build breaking where someone came up with a novel way to ensure that the developers wrote tests - you may want to add it to your list!

They brought in a toy monkey about 50cms tall which made a loud 'monkey noise' when you squeezed it. Anyone who broke the build had to have the monkey sitting on their monitor until the next offender took it from them and if anyone broke the build 'big time', they had to throw the monkey in the air - which made it make it's 'monkey noise' - before sitting it on their monitor!

Nothing like a bit of ritual humiliation to keep you focussed!

Posted by: Derek Dougans on February 22, 2006 02:34 PM

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