Thursday, 13 May 2010

Starting TDD (Part 4)

In some cases the idea of TDD is seen as a promising idea by the organization. lets consider the following

A Lone Developer in charge of evaluating TDD

You talked with your manager and thinks TDD might be a very good idea. in fact he has given you a green light to evaluate the approach. most likely other team members are also in favor of checking this out all are waiting for your conclusions.

In this context the plan of action is very similar to the previous scenario. The difference here is that you are expected to do a more thorough job, and you are expected to show result in a given timeframe.

Therefore, you still need to pass the learning phase, you also need to setup a CI Server and pick out the tools before starting. Time boxing the learning phase will be a good idea, while you still need to gain the knowledge you would like to do it as fast as possible, so pick the training solution that work fastest for you (for many a TDD course does a decent job in a short timeframe). On the other side you would like to invest more time in comparing and evaluating several options for your tool set (which include the CI product). at the end you will be find it easier to justify your choices if you can show that alternatives were considered.

Next step, is picking out a good place to start the actual writing. Since you are evaluating the approach, you probably have the option of picking out where you want to start, and the idea is to pick (for the first experiments) a place that you feel comfortable working on. a Place which will not be too hard. Try locating a small, decoupled section that is logic oriented. At this stage don’t try to tackle the most difficult place, there will be time for that as well. First gain some hands on experience with TDD.

Like initial stages, you would like to time box this first effort. When you finish it don’t forget to share your finding (and your difficulties). sharing along the way will help you when you finish the evaluation and a decision will need to be made.

According to the time allocated, you might have a chance to tackle a “tougher” piece with unit tests. If you are working on a legacy system now will be a good idea to approach the issues such a system present. You will need to gain more knowledge on refactoring and reading Michael Feathers book is also a very good idea at this point. Going through legacy code is harder and takes time. The trick to success with TDD is to have plenty of patience, this will become evident when working on legacy code. Getting help is also a good idea. If possible try using other team members via pairing sessions. Paring on the harder challenges is a great experience by itself and will also make the time for resolving the issues shorter. As a side effect you also introduce TDD to other in your team.

at the end always remember that you have a specific goal, to understand why TDD will be good for you and your team. And to show how it can be adopted by the rest of the team. So don’t wait for the time to end always remember to reflect on what the experience has thought you what were the benefits and what are the challenges. during the evaluation communicate with the rest of the team and draw them into the discussion. at the end you will probably need their weight to make the organization commit to TDD.


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