Practical Reviews and Inspections (2 day course)


The use of practical inspections as a form of early testing is becoming increasingly widespread in the software industry. This course provides sufficient insight into the inspection process to allow organisations to customise the process to suit their specific requirements. Practical tips and guidelines are provided to ensure effectiveness is maintained with process tailoring. Failure paths are outlined. A number of exercises with fun role plays are used to get real practical experience of the inspection process.

Level and Orientation of Audience

Aimed at practitioners and those responsible for deploying the inspection process i.e. software project managers, project leaders, SEPG members, development staff, testers, etc. Ideally participants will have at least some development/test experience.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Understand the costs and benefits of the inspection process for the organisation and for the individual
  • Help ensure the goals of the inspection process are achieved:
    • to detect (and prevent) defects, especially major defects, in your work products
    • to use inspections to learn and increase individual knowledge/skills
    • to perform each of the inspection roles effectively.
  • Perform your role effectively
  • Plan/prepare for inspections
    • Participate in inspection meetings
    • Perform re-work and follow-up

Topics Covered


  • Discussion of you current inspection process issues/problems (to be addressed in the tutorial)
  • Why, when and what to inspect
  • How peer reviews implemented as formal inspections are achieving the industry reported return on investment of 10:1

Key process phases

The key phases are described in terms of goals, activities performed, roles, responsibilities, deliverables, pitfalls, etc. Procedural details/steps in each phase are described and practical tips and guidelines are offered. The main phases are:

  • planning
  • overview/kick-off meeting
  • preparation
  • inspection meeting
  • analysis meeting
  • rework and follow up

Process optimisation issues

  • Review criteria and checklists (samples provided)
  • Reading and paraphrasing
  • Optimum checking rates
  • Basic Metrics: defect definition and classification, effectiveness and efficiency measures, rules of thumb, buy-in issues, etc.
  • Defect prevention: passive/aggressive

The 'soft' skills

  • Cultural and people issues
  • Effectiveness issues
  • Focusing on major faults
  • Perspective based reading
  • Emphasising effective preparation

Practical exercises

Perform inspections on sample internal documentation (using fun role plays!) using in-house or supplied templates for the inspection deliverables.

Implementation Planning

  • Action planning