Tempo Folio Tip of the Month: Weigh the Benefits of Implementing Unit Testing

There are quite a lot of great features in Tempo Folio for JIRA and one of these that you can gain loads of insight from is the issue costs report. Last month’s tip used this report to find out how much fixing bugs is costing your organization. This month, we’re going to expand on that and focus on how you can use that information to decide if you should or shouldn’t implement unit testing.

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Save time and costs by detecting problems early on

The main benefit for implementing unit testing is to reduce the time and therefore cost of fixing bugs.

When tests are written before the coding even begins, then the chance of having many bugs is minimized, saving you both time and costs at a later stage in a project. Not only is it always important to work as efficiently as possible, but detecting bugs later on can slow down your work, forcing you to push back deadlines and delivery dates.

Some people, however, believe unit testing to be too time consuming to be worth doing. So how do you decide what works best for your organization or your team? Some teams might be more efficient doing unit tests, while others might work better testing the software later and fixing any bugs found.

Confirm that unit testing is right for your team

If your organization or team is not currently doing unit testing and you’ve gone through the steps described in last month’s tip, and you found that you’re spending much more time than you would like fixing bugs, then it might be a good idea to give it a shot.

Perhaps you’re worried that the time spent writing unit tests cancels out the time spent fixing bugs, or that it even takes your team more time in the end. In this case, you could experiment by implementing unit testing for one project or perhaps during a certain time frame. After said time frame or project, you can go back and run another issue costs report and see how much time bug fixing is costing you after the implementation.

(view of an issue costs report filtered by bugs)

From these two reports, you can see exactly how much money you’re saving fixing bugs. If the difference is marginal, maybe the extra time spent unit testing isn’t worth it. If, however, the amount of time and money saved is greatly reduced, it might be worth looking into implementing it into your plans.

You could also take this a step further and look at how many hours are being logged on the issues to do the unit testing and see if this, combined with the amount of work fixing bugs, is less than fixing bugs alone in your previous scenario. You can easily filter out what kinds of issues your report is showing you by unchecking the ones you don’t wish to see.

Tempo Folio |Issue Cost Report Filter

Keep everyone happy

Finding out what works best for your team and your organization is useful to many people across the organization, from executives down to the individual team member. If fixing bugs is slowing down your work and making it difficult to meet deadlines, it’s frustrating not only to your clients, but your team members as well. Everyone wants to deliver good work on time.

You might find through your investigations that some teams work better without performing unit tests and some don’t, or perhaps you find that someone on your team is very efficient at fixing bugs or at writing unit tests. Finding the strengths of your team benefits everyone in the end, keeping employees happy and your numbers in the green. Having detailed information about how your team works best sets you up for long term success.

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Marta is one of Tempo's superhuman Product Marketing Managers, in her case a llama. When not writing, promoting, and optimizing she enjoys running with her dog and drawing imaginary creatures.

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