Anecdotal Testing

by Niel M. Bornstein

We've been using NUnit for unit testing for several years now. Although it took a little while to convince everyone, my team strongly believes in unit testing.

Now we're working on a project for a team in another office, and they clearly do not believe in unit testing. In fact, they are completely opposed to the very concept.

I use the term "anecdotal" to describe their approach to unit testing. It's part of a larger methodology that we can call "mundane programming", or UP.

In, anecdotal testing, all you have to do is say "gee, it works on my machine." Or "I tested it and it worked." Or "I have a friend that said it worked once."

Now, I realize that it's not always obvious at first glance that unit testing will save time in the long run. But the sheer hostility of some developers' response is just amazing.

No amount of cajoling, wheedling, or begging will get them to even try it. Without getting a toe in the door, we can't give them that conversion experience, where they discover a bug they didn't know about, or avoid a regression because a test caught a bug.

It takes a certain open-mindedness that some developers still lack.

How do you work with a team that refuses to employee a unit testing framework?