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A Testers Guide to the Myths, Legends and Tales of Unit Testing


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One area that testers might be able to enhance their contributions to software development teams is how we perceive and contribute to unit testing. Being able to influence this type of testing in a positive manner is a skill that testers will need to get to grips with, as more companies start to embrace a model of lone testers in cross functional teams. The shift of focus from primarily the testing that testers do, to the testing that the team does, is a key shift in thinking and behaviour.

To facilitate this shift, I believe testers busting their own illusions about this aspect of building something good would bring us much closer to developers, and help us realise what other layers of testing can cover most effectively. The last point is pertinent here, as knowing and guiding unit testing brings the role of integration, acceptance and exploratory testing into sharp focus.

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A Testers Guide to the Myths, Legends and Tales of Unit Testing

  1. 1. “Myths which are believed in tend to become true.” ~ George Orwell
  2. 2. Ash Winter Short stuff here: @northern_tester Long stuff here:
  3. 3. A Testers* Guide to the Myths, Legends and Tales of Unit Testing * Disclaimer: this definitely maybe applies to all disciplines in software development, not only testers but I’m a tester so its from my point of view.
  4. 4. This is Gus • Speakeasy • Great mentor • Taught me speaking wasn’t only about me
  5. 5. Tweet
  6. 6. Blog
  7. 7. Talk
  8. 8. • Lone testers • Testing in other layers • Cross discipline illusions Y Tho?
  9. 9. • Pyramids • Myths • Legends • Tales • Changing perceptions –As a tester –How devs can help Coming up…
  10. 10. • Useful frame of reference? • Dogma justifying blood sacrifice? • Triangle anyway That Pyramid…
  11. 11. • That unit tests fill in the bottom of the pyramid • That unit tests remain in the bottom layer of the pyramid • That unit tests are inherently more valuable than other layers of tests • That unit test coverage is irrelevant to manual testing • Large number of unit tests can replace integration tests. • You don't need additional tests because everything is unit tested • If you have a suite of unit tests you don't need to do much other testing The source…?
  12. 12. • Based on reality • Explains something we don’t or can’t understand • Moral • Y2K Myths
  13. 13. Myths • What’s a unit? • Existence == good • Tests exist to find bugs • Unit tests communicate intent • Document the code
  14. 14. Myths • I’ve written my unit test plan. • Erm… • But they were testing • Right or wrong to challenge?
  15. 15. • Based on a true event • Hero(es) in fantastical location • Origin story • Snowbird Ski Resort Legends
  16. 16. Legends • TDD is testing, design, both and/or neither • Power of Clean Code™
  17. 17. Legends • Startup • Great code • Unit tests FTW • Idea was bad • Didn’t test that • Death
  18. 18. • Stories passed down • Might be one person • Might be a group • Fairy or folk tales • SAFe is valid Tales
  19. 19. Tales • Devs always write them • Devs never write them • Not part of the test strategy
  20. 20. Tales • Testing meetup • Strategy without unit tests • Didn’t like them • WTF? • Right or wrong?
  21. 21. • Help find out what a unit is • Lens into the devs mind about what/how to build • Question assertions • Effective integration tests As a tester
  22. 22. • Integrate with the test strategy • Code coverage != test coverage • Pair on writing unit tests Help from devs
  23. 23. • Pyramids • Myths • Legends • Tales • Changing perceptions –As a tester –How devs can help Covered…
  24. 24. Thanks