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Development and Evaluation of a Web-based Inspection Process Support Tool (WIPS)

: Dreyer, H.M.
: Rombach, H.D.; Laitenberger, O.

Kaiserslautern, 1998, IV, 85 S. : Ill., Lit.
Kaiserslautern, Univ., Dipl.-Arb., 1998
Fraunhofer IESE ()

This diploma thesis contributes a Web-based Inspection Process Support tool (WIPS) as well as systematic strategy for its development and evaluation. The collection of inspection data is considered essential for monitoring, controlling, and improving software inspections. During an inspection, its participants are required to record defect and effort data. For this, they often use paper-based forms. However, distributing, filling out, and analyzing paper-based forms is cumbersome, tedious, and effort consuming. These issues can be tackled by providing adequate tool support. For that purpose two distinct steps are required. First, a tool must be developed to support at least data collection activities during an inspection. Second, the tool must be evaluated from a user's perspective whether it is more useful and easier to use than paper-based forms. Regarding the first step, we deem the World Wide Web (WWW) the most promising inspection tool infrastructure due to its growing pervasivene ss. However,few systematic strategies are currently available that help develop such tools. Hence, we set up a development strategy and implemented an inspection tool (WIPS) accordingly. The strategy provides guidance for (1) deriving a complete and consistent data model based on a predefined inspection process, (2) designing Web-based data collection forms, and (3) selecting an architecture for accessing a database via the WWW. Regarding the second step, we performed a controlled experiment with computer science students as subjects. The subjects performed inspection of a code module and used WIPS for collecting defect and effort data. Once they had completed the code inspection, they filled out a questionnaire that purports to measure the usefulness and the ease of use of WIPS. For setting up the questionnaire, we built upon the work of Fred Davis on perceived usefulness, ease of use, and usage of information technology. Our experimental results provide empirical evidence that the q u estionnaire is a reliable and valid measurement instrument. Factor analysis revealed that the questionnaire items discriminate between the usefulness and the ease of use concept. Since WIPS received high ratings for both concepts, we can conclude that the subjects consider WIPS useful and easy to use. These results, together with the fact that usefulness was significantly correlated to self-predicted future usage, imply that our subjects preferred WIPS over paper-based forms for inspection data collection. This master thesis provides guidance for practitioners and researchers how to support software inspection with a tool, and how to evaluate the usefulness and the ease of use of an inspection tool from a user's perspective.