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Chapter: Software Testing : Controlling and Monitoring

Review program

A review is a group meeting whose purpose is to evaluate a software artifact or a set of software artifacts.

Review program


A review is a group meeting whose purpose is to evaluate a software artifact or a set of software artifacts.


The general goals for the reviewers are to:


identify problem components or components in the software artifact that need improvement;


identify components of the software artifact that do not need improvement;


identify specific errors or defects in the software artifact (defect detection);

ensure that the artifact conforms to organizational standards.




Other review goals are informational, communicational, and educational, whereby review participants learn about the contents of the developing software artifacts to help them understand the role of their own work and to plan for future stages of development. Reviews often represent project milestones and support the establishment of a baseline for a software artifact. Thus, they also have a role in project management, project monitoring, and control. Review data can also have an influence on test planning. The types and quantity of defects found during review can help test planners select effective classes of tests, and may also have an influence testing goals. In some cases clients/users attend the review meetings and give feedback to the development team, so reviews are also a means for client communication. To summarize, the many benefits of a review program are:


higher-quality software;


increased productivity (shorter rework time);


closer adherence to project schedules (improved process control);

increased awareness of quality issues; teaching tool for junior staff;


opportunity to identify reusable software artifacts;


reduced maintenance costs;


higher customer satisfaction;


more effective test planning;

a more professional attitude on the part of the development staff.


Not all test educators, practitioners, and researchers consider technical reviews to be a testing activity. Some prefer to consider them in a special category called verification testing; others believe they should be associated with software quality assurance activities. The author, as well as many others, for example, Hetzel [2], hold the position that testing activities should cover both validation and verification, and include both static and dynamic analyses. The TMM structure supports this view. If one adheres to this broader view of testing, then the author argues the following:



(i)  Reviews as a verification and static analysis technique should be considered a testing activity.

(ii) Testers should be involved in review activities.


Also, if you consider the following:


(i)  a software system is more than the code; it is a set of related artifacts;


(ii)  these artifacts may contain defects or problem areas that should be reworked, or removed;




(iii)quality-related attributes of these artifacts should be evaluated;


then the technical review is one of the most important tools we can use to accomplish these goals. In addition, reviews are the means for testing these artifacts early in the software life cycle. It gives us an early focus on quality issues, helps us to build quality into the system from the beginning, and, allows us to detect and eliminate errors/defects early in the software life cycle as close as possible to their point of origin. If we detect defects early in the life cycle, then:


they are easier to detect;


they are less costly to repair;


overall rework time is reduced;


productivity is improved;


they have less impact on the customer.


Use of the review as a tool for increasing software quality and developer productivity began in the 1970s. Fagen and Myers wrote pioneering papers that described the review process and its benefits. This chapter will discuss two types of technical reviews, inspections, and walkthroughs.


It will show you how they are run, who should attend, what the typical activities and outputs are, and what are the benefits. Having a review program requires a commitment of organizational time and resources. It is the author‘s goal to convince you of the benefits of reviews, their important role in the testing process, their cost effectiveness as a quality tool, and why you as a tester should be involved in the review process.

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