Types of reviews in Software Testing

What is a review?

“A software review is a process or meeting during which a software product is examined by a project personnel, users, computers, user representatives, or other interested parties for comment or approval.”

It is very clear from the above definition that a software review is as essential as software testing. A software review has its own significance as it provides a better view on the developed software. It requires a team that can provide insights of the build software.

Types of reviews

A single document may be the subject of more than one review. If more than one type of review is used, the order may vary. It is apparent that none of the following types of review is the ‘winner’, but the different types serve different purposes at different stages in the life cycle of a document.

The main review types:

  • Walkthrough
  • Technical Review
  • Inspection

Walkthrough

  • The meeting led by author
  • May take the form of scenarios, dry runs, peer group participation
  • Open-ended sessions
  • Optional pre-meeting preparation of reviewers
  • Optional preparation of a review report including a list of findings
  • Optional scribe (who is not the author)
  • May vary in practice from quite informal to very formal
  • Main purposes: learning, gaining understanding, finding defects

The goals of a Walkthrough

  • To present the documents both within and outside the software discipline in order to gather the information regarding the topic under documentation.
  • To explain or do the knowledge transfer and evaluate the contents of the document
  • To achieve a common understanding and to gather feedback.
  • To examine and discuss the validity of the proposed solutions

Technical review

  • A technical review is a discussion meeting that focuses on achieving consensus about the technical content of a document.
  • Compared to inspections, technical reviews are less formal and there is little or no focus on defect identification on the basis of referenced documents, intended readership and rules.
  • During technical reviews defects are found by experts, who focus on the content of the document.
  • The experts that are needed for a technical review are:
    • architects
    • chief designers
    • key users.
    • In practice, technical reviews vary from quite informal to very formal.

The goals of a Technical Review are

  • assess the value of technical concepts and alternatives in the product and project environment.
  • establish consistency in the use and representation of technical concepts.
  • ensure, at an early stage, that technical concepts are used correctly.
  • inform participants of the technical content of the document.

Inspection

  • It is the most formal review type
  • It is led by the trained moderators
  • During inspection the documents are prepared and checked thoroughly by the reviewers before the meeting
  • It involves peers to examine the product
  • A separate preparation is carried out during which the product is examined and the defects are found
  • The defects found are documented in a logging list or issue log
  • A formal follow-up is carried out by the moderator applying exit criteria

The goals of a Inspection are

  • help the author to improve the quality of the document under inspection.
  • ┬áremove defects efficiently, as early as possible.
  • improve product quality, by producing documents with a higher level of quality.
  • create a common understanding by exchanging information among the inspection participants.