Updated May 16, 2023
Definition of Software Review
One or more individuals collaborate in conducting a software review, which involves systematically inspecting the software and its requirements. The goal is to identify and resolve potential errors during the early stages of the software development life cycle. Review plays an important part in SDLC, which helps the software engineers validate the functionality and quality of the software and the reliability and other supporting areas of software. In other words, software review is a process of validating the software requirements, design, functionality, test cases, and test plan. Software reviews vary from informal to formal reviews.
- Formal Review: Formal review is characterized by documented procedures and requirements. It is related to factors such as the maturity of the development process, legal or regulatory requirements, or the need for an audit trail.
- Informal Review: Informal review is a review that is not based on a documented procedure, i.e., formal procedure. This can be applied at various times during the early stage of development.
Phases of Formal Review
There are 6 phases in A formal review which are as follows.
- Planning: During the planning phase, the team creates a specific software review plan, which encompasses factors such as review criteria, role allocation, and entry and exit criteria, among others.
- Kick-Off: In the kick-off phase, the reviewers receive a brief introduction to the review objectives and documents, along with an explanation of the objectives and the process to be followed.
- Preparation: In the preparation phase, the team practices for the review meeting by reviewing the documents and noting any defects or faults.
- Review Meeting: In the review meeting phase, the discussion notes various documents, results, defects, and solutions. Multiple activities are discussed, like examination, evaluation, and results.
- Rework: In the rework phase, the team tries to fix the defects/faults by reworking them and keeping the defects’ updated results.
- Follow-Up: In the follow-up phase, the moderator examines various exit criteria and metrics to ensure corrective action has been taken on all defects, process improvement suggestions, and exchange requests.
Types of Software Review
There are various types of software reviews, as follows:
The author of a document presents a walkthrough, which is a step-by-step presentation, to gather information and establish a common understanding of its content. The author of the paper conducts the meeting. To validate the content, various scenarios have been used.
The goal of the walkthrough review
- Present the document to stakeholders within and outside the software discipline to gather information regarding the topic covered.
- Establish a common understanding of the document.
- Examine and discuss the validity of the solution and other alternatives for backup.
- Explain and evaluate the document’s content.
2. Technical Review
A technical review involves holding a meeting to discuss the technical content of the document and reach a consensus. In comparison to the inspection review, specialized studies are less formal. The primary focus of technical review is on the technical concept and its achievement. In a technical review, a separate preparation is conducted to examine the product or software and identify any defects. It is led by technical expertise or a moderator.
The goal of Technical review
- To establish consistency in the technical concepts
- To ensure that the technical concepts are correct at the earlier stage of development
- To access the technical concepts value and their alternatives
3. Inspection Review
An inspection review is a formal review that relies on the document’s visual examination to find the defects. It is the most formal review technique, therefore, always based on a documented procedure. In the inspection review, the moderator prepares and checks documents throughout before the meeting. They review papers by comparing them to work with their sources and other reference documents, using rules and checklists. In a forum, participants log any defects they find, and any discussion is postponed until the discussion phase. This process makes meeting a very efficient meeting.
The goal of the inspection review
- To remove faults or defects as soon as possible.
- To create a shared understanding by exchanging information among participants.
- To help the author to improve the quality of the document.
- To enhance the quality of the product.
- Find the defects and learn them to improve the process to prevent the recurrence of similar defects.
Success Factors for Software Review
Below is the list of critical success factors that can improve the chances of success while implementing reviews.
- Find a champion
- Pick things that count
- Train participants
- Pick the right techniques.
- Explicitly plan and track review activities.
- Manage people issues
- Continuously improve processes and tools
- Use testers
- Follow the rules but keep it simple.
- report results
- Just do it!
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