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The Effects of Test-Driven Development on External Quality and Productivity: A Meta-Analysis
June 2013 (vol. 39 no. 6)
pp. 835-856
Yahya Rafique, Ryerson University, Toronto
Vojislav B. Mišić, Ryerson University, Toronto
This paper provides a systematic meta-analysis of 27 studies that investigate the impact of Test-Driven Development (TDD) on external code quality and productivity. The results indicate that, in general, TDD has a small positive effect on quality but little to no discernible effect on productivity. However, subgroup analysis has found both the quality improvement and the productivity drop to be much larger in industrial studies in comparison with academic studies. A larger drop of productivity was found in studies where the difference in test effort between the TDD and the control group's process was significant. A larger improvement in quality was also found in the academic studies when the difference in test effort is substantial; however, no conclusion could be derived regarding the industrial studies due to the lack of data. Finally, the influence of developer experience and task size as moderator variables was investigated, and a statistically significant positive correlation was found between task size and the magnitude of the improvement in quality.
Index Terms:
Productivity,Computational modeling,Testing,Process control,Programming,Size measurement,agile software development,Test-driven development,meta-analysis,code quality,programmer productivity
Citation:
Yahya Rafique, Vojislav B. Mišić, "The Effects of Test-Driven Development on External Quality and Productivity: A Meta-Analysis," IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol. 39, no. 6, pp. 835-856, June 2013, doi:10.1109/TSE.2012.28
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