March 27, 2006 - Clicker Trained by Continuous Integration

Kathy Sierra's Clicker trained by our email blog entry just closed a synaptic loop for me. When I give my CI/CA talk I try and make the point that developers quickly become addicted to the positive feedback of that "build successful" email, that even this little reward, given quickly enough after the behaivor you want to encourage, is enough to reinforce the habit. When I spoke to Alistair Cockburn about this at the Jolt Awards he even used the phrase clicker training to describe it. But now reading Kathy's entry something new springs to mind -- in that same CI/CA talk I make the point that the real Return On Investment in developer testing comes when the test fails... and that's an intermittent reward!

So if you want to adopt developer testing as part of your standard practices make sure you're using Continuous Integration. In the beginning it is the "build successful" messages you'll be looking for, but for the long term you'll be hooked on those times the lamp goes red.

Posted by Jeffrey Fredrick at March 27, 2006 07:31 PM

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