Do Your Inspections Work?

Software inspections are meant to uncover defects and save considerable project effort and cost. But how do you know if your inspections are cost-effective compared to testing and other quality activities? Can you even tell if inspections pay for themselves? In this week's column, Karl Wiegers outlines three ways to measure your inspection efforts.

Karl E. Wiegers
A Selection of "Our Take" Columns

"Our Take" is a regular column from the editors at Software Quality Engineering. It appears in the twice-monthly StickyLetter since its inception in September 2000 (originally "STQe-Letter"). From jazz music, to car troubles, to the Lewis and Clark expedition, Robert Rose-Coutré, former Editor, will use anything to make a point about building better software. The editors at Software Quality Engineering have compiled a collection of some of these pieces. Musings from StickyLetter's "Our Take" are presented here.

Robert Rose-Coutre's picture Robert Rose-Coutre
Fightin' Words

Do you ever shy away from using terms your coworkers or organization may have come to regard negatively—perhaps words like "process" or "CMM" or "inspections"? Why is it not okay to call a spade a spade—or a process a process—for fear of scaring team members who don't understand or value contemporary software engineering practices? In this week's column, Karl Wiegers explains why he doesn't play those games (and how he gets away with it).

Karl E. Wiegers
Comparative Defect Removal Costs Calculating the Economics of Software Inspections

Without return on investment (ROI) calculations for the software inspections process, you cannot know the true benefit of those inspections. In this article, Ed Weller makes some assumptions about the cost of inspections and tries to estimate the savings from reduced test cost. He also provides a spreadsheet for doing "what-if" analysis of different savings based on inspection effectiveness, and how much defect removal in test might cost.

Ed Weller's picture Ed Weller
When Reviewers Can't Meet

When your team members are separated by space or time, don’t abandon peer reviews. They can still be powerful contributors to product quality and team productivity. In this adaptation from his forthcoming book, Karl Wiegers spells out how to engage the team in distributed review meetings or asynchronous reviews. Although they aren’t the same as sitting down face-to-face, these techniques provide a valuable alternative mechanism for getting a little help from your friends.

Karl E. Wiegers


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