Continuous Code Inspections (CCI)

Effective CCI – a practical approach

The benefits of finding and fixing defects early in the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) are widely acknowledged. And these benefits are not limited to quality, but simultaneously have a positive impact on schedule and cost.

There is also a large body of research* into the effectiveness of different tools and methodologies in identifying and removing defects (Defect Removal Efficiency (DFE)) at the different stages in the SDLC. The key conclusion from these studies is the fact that effective code inspection (as opposed to ad-hoc code reviews) are one of the most effective means to identify and remove defects (typically these identify 60-70% of all defects) and they achieve this at the earliest possible stage in the development process. The ideal approach is early and frequent inspections, which approach a state of CCI.

Continuous Code InspectionClick the image to see a larger version

We have identified three primary areas that determine the effectiveness of code inspection: the inspection criteria, the inspection process and the enabling tools.

A brief scan of the inspection criteria immediately reveals the appropriateness of Static Analysis – PRQA’s core competency – as the underlying technology to cover these.

In addition, the other critical aspects of the broader code inspection process need to be addressed, including:

  • providing the team with an effective means to collaborate and work together
  • ensuring that analysis can be conducted continuously, on an iterative, incremental basis
  • providing appropriate documentation and traceability, for internal or external audiences (eg audit trails, verification or compliance reporting)
  • ensuring that legitimate deviations from the inspection criteria can be made in a controlled fashion
  • Mechanizing mundane low level tasks, freeing up key resources to focus on the areas where they really add value.
  • And leveraging the most appropriate tools to help to optimize and automate the overall process making it repeatable, predictable and scaleable.

More resources

Video demosContinuous Code Inspection – Advancing Software Quality At Source webinar recording
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white papersRead our white papers about CCI and other software quality issues.
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* eg: see “A Survey of Software Inspection Technologies” by Oliver Laitenberger’s for a consolidated analysis of ~120 articles and reports on code inspections.