From time to time, I have discussions about how to start “convincing” leadership that developers should write unit tests. Many organizations see the value and many don’t. I believe it’s understood as an industry best-practice. Yet, many developers fail to create buy-in from their peers and leadership. Unit testing is one of those things that everyone in the delivery team should be doing it, otherwise it’s not effective.

I myself have struggled with this a lot. When I used to be a developer, I tried to champion this cause at my organization. I tried to push unit tests heavily and didn’t really succeed. As a consultant, often times we’re invited by delivery teams because we’re seen as “the experts” or the “outside opinion.” This can be quite effective when the problem is big enough to warrant consulting engagements.

I ran into this great post that talks about some ideas and tactics to champion a cause. How to drive change within an organization as a person without given authority. In other words, how to spur change as a developer.

What stuck out to me from this post is one thing - he had courage. In his anecdote, he was told no multiple times by management. He did the emotional labor. He tried to build support from his peers. Drip by drip he pushed on. His idea didn’t get realized until almost a year later. It wasn’t immediate gratification. This post reminded me a lot of some of the ideas in the book Linchpin. We have to be willing to do the hard part, the emotional labor.