Inspections are generally accepted as a means to improve the quality of software products in an effective and efficient way. However, inspections are not a standard practice in a great number of software projects and software organisations. Introducing and implementing inspections is often a tedious and difficult task, because software engineers must be personally convinced of the effectiveness of new methods before they will consistently use them.
Collecting relevant data during inspections is a way to overcome these difficulties. Such data collection for software inspections is termed measurement. Measurement is a powerful aid to implement and improve the inspection process. Showing real-life data is often convincing for both the software engineers and their managers. A well-known and popular software measurement approach is the Goal/Question/Metric method (GQM). Applying GQM to the inspection process helps to focus the data gathering process, and support the interpretation process. An important part of the measurement programme and thus inspection implementation and improvement process are the so-called feedback sessions. Feed back sessions are meetings involving members of the project team and the measurement team. It is an essential tool for analysis and interpretation of the measurement results.
The background to this paper is the implementation of inspections in a number of Dutch organizations using the GQM approach as a main vehicle. Practical examples are provided of the measurement goals, metrics and feedback sessions.
Dr. Erik P.W.M. van Veenendaal CISA has been working in as a practitioner and manager within the area of software quality for a great number of years carrying out assignments in the field of quality management, EDP-auditing, software testing and inspections. Within this area he specializes in software testing and is the author of a number of books, e.g. Structured testing; an introduction to TMap and Software quality from a business perspective.
As a test manager and consultant he has been involved in a great number and variety of projects, has implemented structured testing and carried out process improvements activities in a large number of organisations. He is a regular speaker both at national and international testing conferences and a leading international trainer in the field of software quality. Erik van Veenendaal is the founder and managing director of Improve Quality Services, a company that provides services in the area of quality management, testing and inspections.
At the Eindhoven University of Technology, Faculty of Technology Management, Erik is part-time involved in lecturing and research activities. He is on the Dutch standards institute committee for software quality.