Somewhere in the deep guts of a project you enjoy the "pleasure of unit testing." Typically the dead center looks like:
Approval of interface design
Various programming tasks
Software corrections from unit testing
System and stress testing
The nice thing about unit testing is that it gets so buried into the guts of a project that the managers don't pay much attention to it. Despite this however, the unit testing ultimately determines, unequivocally, the quality of your product.
Just because no one is looking doesn't mean that you should slack off from the unit tests. If your software is modularized, which on a larger project is most probably the case, then you can unit test as individual modules become available.
Earlier I discussed Artistic Test Harnesses, and how they not only allow for rapidly repeatable unit testing but also provide a failsafe for workarounds during implementation. Be sure to read that previous post to learn how to construct these useful utilities.
Recognize that Quality always involves work: there are no shortcuts to achieve it. It turns out that it is mostly the hidden, unmanaged, personal part of your work that primarily determines your long-term success.