J.B. Rainsberger – What makes a good test suite?

J.B. Rainsberger is a respected XP coach. He is one of the true masters of agile development. As such, he has deep knowledge with both the technical and cultural aspects of successful Agile teams.

J.B. is also a master at getting to the essence of a thing. He can say a lot with very little.

I asked J.B. the same question that I asked everyone else:

What are the characteristics of a good test suite?

J.B.’s Answer

  • Fast
  • Repeatable, consistent results (same tests pass/fail from run to run when nothing changes)
  • Easy to find the set of tests that execute a particular function/method
  • High proportion of problems result in only one test failure
  • Test failure points accurately in the direction of the underlying mistake
  • Each test easy to understand on its own, or in the context of a very small group (up to 5?)

That’s what jumps to mind so far.


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