Students' and professionals' perceptions of test-driven development: a focus group study

Giuseppe Scanniello, Simone Romano, Davide Fucci, Burak Turhan, Natalia Juristo

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13 Citations (Scopus)


We have conducted a qualitative investigation on test-driven development (TDD) with focus groups to develop insights on the opinions of developers using TDD regarding the unintuitive process involved, its claimed effects, as well as the context factors that can facilitate (or hinder) its application. In particular, we conducted two focus group sessions: one with professionals and another with Master students in Computer Science. We used thematic analysis template (TAT) method for identifying patterns, themes, and interpretations in gathered data. We obtained a number of results that can be summarized as follows: (i) applying TDD without knowing advanced unit testing techniques can be difficult; (ii) refactoring (one of the phases of TDD) is not done as often as the process requires; (iii) there is a need for live feedback to let developers understand if TDD is being applied correctly; and (iv) the usefulness of TDD hinges on task and domain to which it is applied to.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - The 31st Annual ACM Symposium on Applied Computing, SAC 2016
Subtitle of host publicationPisa, Italy April 4-8, 2016
EditorsJiman Hong, Maria Lencastre
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781450337397
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventACM Symposium on Applied Computing 2016 - Pisa, Italy
Duration: 4 Apr 20168 Apr 2016
Conference number: 31st (Proceedings)


ConferenceACM Symposium on Applied Computing 2016
Abbreviated titleSAC 2016
Internet address


  • Focus group
  • Qualitative study
  • Test driven development

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