University of Oulu

Maria Teresa Baldassarre, Danilo Caivano, Davide Fucci, Natalia Juristo, Simone Romano, Giuseppe Scanniello, Burak Turhan, Studying test-driven development and its retainment over a six-month time span, Journal of Systems and Software, Volume 176, 2021, 110937, ISSN 0164-1212,

Studying test-driven development and its retainment over a six-month time span

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Author: Baldassarre, Maria Teresa1; Caivano, Danilo1; Fucci, Davide2;
Organizations: 1University of Bari, Bari, Italy
2Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden
3Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
4University of Basilicata, Potenza, Italy
5University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
6Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-03-16


In this paper, we investigate the effect of TDD, as compared to a non-TDD approach, as well as its retainment (or retention) over a time span of (about) six months. To pursue these objectives, we conducted a (quantitative) longitudinal cohort study with 30 novice developers (i.e., third-year undergraduate students in Computer Science). We observed that TDD affects neither the external quality of software products nor developers’ productivity. However, we observed that the participants applying TDD produced significantly more tests, with a higher fault-detection capability, than those using a non-TDD approach. As for the retainment of TDD, we found that TDD is retained by novice developers for at least six months.

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Series: Journal of systems and software
ISSN: 0164-1212
ISSN-E: 1873-1228
ISSN-L: 0164-1212
Volume: 176
Article number: 110937
DOI: 10.1016/j.jss.2021.110937
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Copyright information: © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license