Comparing Detection Methods for Software Requirements Inspections

[article]
A Replication Using Professional Subjects
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Summary:
Software requirements specifications are often validated manually. One such process is inspection, in which several reviewers independently analyze all or part of the specification and search for faults. These faults are then collected at a meeting of the reviewers and author(s). Usually, reviewers use ad hoc or checklist methods to uncover faults. We hypothesize that a Scenario-based method, in which each reviewer uses different, systematic techniques to search for different, specific classes of faults, will have a significantly higher success rate.

Software requirements specifications are often validated manually. One such process is inspection, in which several reviewers independently analyze all or part of the specification and search for faults. These faults are then collected at a meeting of the reviewers and author(s). Usually, reviewers use ad hoc or checklist methods to uncover faults.

These methods force all reviewers to rely on nonsystematic techniques to search for a wide variety of faults. We hypothesize that a Scenario-based method, in which each reviewer uses different, systematic techniques to search for different, specific classes of faults, will have a significantly higher success rate.

In previous work we evaluated this hypothesis using forty-eight graduate students in computer science as subjects. We now have replicated this experiment using eighteen professional developers from Lucent Technologies as subjects. This article describes the experiment, our goals, and our conclusions.

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