Do you inspect?

I have been a long-time advocate of formal and informal inspection of artifacts throughout the software development process.  I become a convert while running the software development at Sanchez Computer Associates, a Banking software product provider, ten years ago (see page 21 of a CMMI Benefits Report by Dennis Goldenson and Diane Gibson).  My boss at the time, Frank Sanchez, quickly became a champion too! So, I was delighted to see a fresh take on the topic in an Dr Dobbs Report article by Capers Jones and Olivier Bonsignour in the November 28, 2011 print edition of informationweek.  They argue that inspections are the defect-prevention technique of choice. While I agree whole heartedly, experience has taught me that Fromal Inspections can become a bureaucratic waste of time. I have found that ADDING two things to formal inspections can add significant value AND enhance compatibility with agile. First, put together a small "software artifacts standards committee" with your top developers, business analysts and testers and get them to set the criteria for inspections or, in other words, "What are the inspectors looking for?" A checklist works well. This group should meet regularly to consider updates based on newly identified helpful or hurtful patterns. Second, two tiers of formal inspection should be implemented - the Fagan Inspection approach preferred by Jones and a peer-to-peer approach that completes the inspection checklist without going to the full committee. The standards committee decides on a policy for which artifacts go to which level of inspection based on the ROI.

Written by Michael D. Harris at 16:57



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