TDD is slower the same way a drop cloth makes you slower

October 23, 2022
Painting without a drop cloth may be faster, but the hours of clean up outweigh savings.

“TDD slows me down” is a common complaint, especially from people new to TDD.

But does it really?

Well, it’s easy to see why it feels like it slows us down. It slows us down the same way that laying a drop cloth, or placing masking tape slows down a painter.

In the most direct sense, yes, it means waiting longer before doing “production work.”

But when you look at the entire task, does it still slow you down? Not really.

Painting without a drop cloth or masking tape may be “faster”, but the hours (or longer) of clean up after the fact far outweigh the “extra” time spent with precautionary measures.

TDD works the same way. Skipping the tests first does mean you get to “production work” sooner. But then you spend more time after, manually verifying each change you make.

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