Unit testing is a basic testing strategy which allows you to test small chunks of code, called units, at a given time. These tests should be done periodically right from the beginning of the project. Unit tests basically allow you to test your code in incremental parts and fix any bugs you might discover along the way and is a core part of Agile development. Unit testing helps you gain confidence in the fact that once you’ve finished your part of the coding process, everything will run smoothly because you’ve tested your code on the fly.
In the beginning of the project, you probably won’t feel like writing unit tests. In fact, you might feel that your code is good without really testing it at all. But then, eventually, your small piece of code turns into a giant code base with millions of lines and five hundred weird test cases. That’s when code starts suffering from never-ending regression bugs, and that’s also precisely where unit testing helps you the most.
Unit testing your code is one thing, but when you’re working with a team, that’s a whole other story. It’s a tough job to make sure that you and your team are on the same page. But in the end, unit tests are worth the effort!
Here are three simple tips to get your team going with unit testing.
Every chunk of code must be tested. So, optimize the work by giving every team member a part to test. Bring everyone on board because every person in this process is vital and plays a significant part. Involving everyone brings out multiple perspectives. You may think you are making it complex and complicated. But, you are actually adding new directions and frames of reference.
Before starting with writing the tests, make sure that all the team members share a common knowledge and have the same end goal. Introduce everyone to the basics and try to share knowledge with everyone involved. If that takes up too much time, at least brief team members on the outlines. The more you’re all on the same page, the more optimized the results will be. This will improve your efficiency and have the greatest impact.
You will definitely need a clear and simple plan to execute your unit test, otherwise, the impacts are immeasurable. Start with a basic plan and focus only on that plan. Add the requirements and goals one at a time and reformulate it. From the start to the end of the project, make sure that every small piece of code written is being tested. Don’t just make bulk steps. Unit testing is all about incremental testing of minor parts of code that are developed to work together. No two projects have the same plan. So, have a purpose for each and every step planned. Try hard to optimize the plan because they ultimately lead to accurate results.
Also, make sure that the steps are testable and deliver insight. In other words, test and measure everything. Don’t settle for average results. Working towards 100% bug-free testing should always be the end goal.
Truthfully, you may not always get the results that you were expecting at the start. But it’s okay because unit testing allows you to make major changes one at a time. Take this as an opportunity to experiment. Remember this is just an opportunity to learn new things, not to prove yourself right.
Prioritize for Results
As we all know, companies need results in the form of success. If you start unit testing in the middle of the project, then you definitely can’t expect the results that you are hoping for. Continuous brainstorming sessions can help to add fresh ideas and deliver quick wins.
Prioritize the tests. Test the chunks which generate the highest impact first. This will make a huge difference, especially when time is of the essence.
One More Thing...
Keep in mind that it takes time to get all team members on board. You must educate every person to maintain the pace. During this process, you will find many moments of successes and failures, but when all is said and done the results will speak for themselves.