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Investigating the Cost-Effectiveness of Reinspections in Software Development

: Biffl, S.; Freimut, B.; Laitenberger, O.


IEEE Computer Society:
23rd International Conference on Software Engineering 2001. Proceedings
Los Alamitos, Calif.: IEEE Computer Society, 2001
ISBN: 0-7695-1050-7
pp.155-164 : Ill., Lit.
International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) <23, 2001, Toronto>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IESE ()
verification; software inspection; reinspection; cost-benefit model; controlled experiment

Software inspection is one of the most effective methods to detect defects. Reinspection repeats the inspection process for software products that are suspected to contain a significant number of undetected defects after an initial inspection. As a reinspection is often believed to be less efficient than an inspection an important question is whether a reinspection justifies its cost.
In this paper we propose a cost-benefit model for inspection and reinspection. We discuss the impact of cost and benefit parameters on the net gain of a reinspection with empirical data from an experiment in which 31 student teams inspected and reinspected a requirements document.
Main findings of the experiment are: a) For reinspection benefits and net gain were significantly lower than for the initial inspection. Yet, the reinspection yielded a positive net gain for most teams with conservative cost-benefit assumptions. b) Both the estimated benefits and number of major defects are key factors for reinspection net gain, which emphasizes the need for appropriate estimation techniques.