Archives for: November 2006, 02

Nov 02, 2006 : Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference; and not doing TDD

Last week I got to go to the Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference. It was a very good one-day conference (plus workshops the day before), especially since it was local. There was a developers track, a process track, and a testing track. All had good presentations; lots of them focused on agile methods and many emphasized the value in good people and good relationships. Thanks to the organizers: XP West Michigan and the American Society for Quality! It was fun to see fellow Calvin CS alumni at the conference :)

I'd like to use more agile methods and test-driven development at work, but our department is very very small so we each already wear many hats and we don't overlap much. That makes pair programming difficult. The presentation on pairing suggested that you could pair on other tasks too, like writing the requirements doc, or testing, which I think we could do effectively. For test driven development, this may be heresy, but I don't think it's worth doing for many of our projects. The processes & data for which we write software are not critical to our organization. Sure they're useful, but their not critical. (We used purchased software to do all our core business functionality). All the software that we develop are very useful but are not critical. In fact they are so far from critical that virtually all bugs in "production" are actually acceptable. The cost to do TDD does not offset the cost of not doing it.

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