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An Encompassing Life-Cycle Centric Survey of Software Inspection

: Laitenberger, O.; DeBaud, J.-M.


The Journal of systems and software 50 (2000), Nr.1, S.5-31 : Ill., Lit.
ISSN: 0164-1212
Fraunhofer IESE ()

This paper contributes an integrated survey of the work in the area of software inspection. It consists of two main sections. The first introduces a detailed description of the core concepts and relationships that together define the field of software inspection. The second elaborates a taxonomy that uses a generic development life-cycle to contextualize software inspection in detail. After Fagan's seminal work presented in 1976, the body of work in software inspection has greatly increased and reached measured maturity. Yet, there is still no encompassing and systematic view of this research body driven from a life-cycle perspective. This perspective is important since inspection methods and refinements are most often aligned to particular life-cycle artifacts. It also provides practitioners with a road-map available in their terms. To provide a systematic and encompassing view of the research and practice body in software inspection, the contribution of this survey is, in a first step, to introduce in detail the core concepts and relationships that together embody the field of software inspection. This lays out the field key ideas and benefits as well as to elicit a common vocabulary. There, we make a strong effort to unify the relevant vocabulary used in available literature sources.
In a second step, we use this vocabulary to build a contextual map of the field in the form of a taxonomy indexed by the different development stages of a generic process. This contextual map can guide practitioners and focus their
attention to the inspection work most relevant to the introduction or development of inspections at the level of their particular development stage; or to help motivate the use of software inspection earlier in their development cycle.
Our work provides three distinct, practical benefits: First, the index taxonomy can help practitioners identify inspection experience directly related to a particular life-cycle stage. Second, our work allows one to structure the large amount of published inspection work. Third, such taxonomy can help researchers compare and assess existing inspection methods and refinements to identify fruitful areas of future work.