Background: Test-Driven Development (TDD) is an agile software development practice, which is claimed to boost both external quality of software products and developers' productivity. Aims: We want to study: (i) the TDD effects on the external quality of software products as well as the developers' productivity; and (ii) the retainment of TDD over a period of five months. Method: We conducted a (quantitative) longitudinal cohort study with 30 third-year undergraduate students in Computer Science at the University of Bari in Italy. Results: The use of TDD has a statistically significant effect neither on the external quality of software products nor on the developers' productivity. However, we observed that participants using TDD produced significantly more tests than those applying a non-TDD development process, and that the retainment of TDD is particularly noticeable in the amount of tests written. Conclusions: Our results should encourage software companies to adopt TDD because who practices TDD tends to write more tests - -having more tests can come in handy when testing software systems or localizing faults - -and it seems that novice developers retain TDD.
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