The Belief that Tests are Smarter than Code Telegraphs Latent Fear or a Bad Process

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.

This part is really good:

Programmers have a tacit belief that they can think more clearly
(or guess better) when writing tests when writing code, or that
somehow there is more information in a test than in code. That
is just formal nonsense. The psychological perspective is
instructive here, and it’s important because that — rather than
any computational property — most drives developer behaviour.
If your coders have more lines of unit tests than of code, it
probably means one of several things. They may be paranoid
about correctness; paranoia drives out the clear thinking and
innovation that bode for high quality. They may be lacking in
analytical mental tools or in a discipline of thinking, and they
want the machine to do their thinking for them. Machines are
good at repeating mechanical tasks but test design still requires
careful thought. Or it may be that your process makes it
impossible to integrate frequently, because of bad process
design or bad tools. The programmers are doing their best to
compensate by creating tests in an environment where they have
some control over their own destiny.

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