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Lifecycle   »   Agile Testing   »   Unit testing


Your developers will perform unit tests. These are probably the lowest level of tests your project will perform. Your developers may choose to run the tests before they fully write the code. The subject of test driven development is already worthy of a handful of books so we bow to their superior knowledge. Nevertheless, your developers may choose to create test harness programs which validate your system features in a non-visual output manner. They will be testing at the lowest level whether certain manual or automated inputs create or trigger certain anticipated outputs. Often times, all that has changed or created is a single digit in a row in a database.

In the Toolkit, unlike many other agile methodologies, we recognise that often certain key system fundamentals will be in place before we can usefully create assessment deliverables and before we can test it. These fundamentals include low-level database access and other data access components, security and login systems, presentational or front-end interfaces as well as other mandated application architecture components. It might be that our governance procedures dictate it or our development environment mandates it. Either way, in this instance, we need something in place before our project can get underway.

We strongly suggest that, in these instances, you identify what components you need and place them into a subproject that is estimated and time boxed to deliver when you need it. In our experience, it is often much more efficient to separate out these activities. These are often quite technical and detailed processes that do not lend themselves well to business involvement or to the straightforward business validation of their outputs.

So, you have identified the various components that you need such as login screens and database access components. These are going to be delivered in a sub-project prior to the main project and developed using test driven development. Your developers will unit test the various components using test harness programs. If there is still debate about the design of various components and these components will not be ready in time for your project, consider when you need the component precisely. If a shipment can progress without the component, plan it without the component. If a key component is required for your shipment, consider re-planning your shipments. There is no rocket science to this, at all.

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