Applying Program Comprehension Techniques to
Improve Software Inspections
by Lionel E. Deimel and
inspections are a popular method of examining code to uncover defects, what
ordinary people would call mistakes. An inspection involves a group of computer
professionals inspecting code line-by-line. The process is always highly
structured, though there are many different conventions for providing that
structure. One might say that the theory behind inspections is based on the
observation by Yogi Berra that “you can observe a lot by just watching.”
Debugging software is difficult and time-consuming, and it is hoped that
inspections will identify problems before code is actually run.
Inspections do not come free, of course. Assigning a group of professionals
to an inspection team costs money, and the activity is not always popular with
the participants. More worrisome, however, is the fact that inspections are not
always as effective as we would like them to be.
Stan Rifkiin—Stan and I are both alumni of Carnegie Mellon’s Software
Engineering Institute—had an opportunity to test whether providing instruction
to software professionals actually improved their ability to understand code and
find defects in it. Although our joint paper (citation) hardly proves that this approach
will always produce desirable results, it suggests that program comprehension
instruction is indeed useful.
|Applying Program Comprehension Techniques to
Improve Software Inspections (PDF)
— LED, 4/17/2023