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The Effectiveness of Software Development Technical Reviews: A Behaviorally Motivated Program of Research
January 2000 (vol. 26 no. 1)
pp. 1-14

Abstract—Software engineers use a number of different types of software development technical review (SDTR) for the purpose of detecting defects in software products. This paper applies the behavioral theory of group performance to explain the outcomes of software reviews. A program of empirical research is developed, including propositions to both explain review performance and identify ways of improving review performance based on the specific strengths of individuals and groups. Its contributions are to clarify our understanding of what drives defect detection performance in SDTRs and to set an agenda for future research. In identifying individuals' task expertise as the primary driver of review performance, the research program suggests specific points of leverage for substantially improving review performance. It points to the importance of understanding software reading expertise and implies the need for a reconsideration of existing approaches to managing reviews.

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Index Terms:
Inspections, walkthroughs, technical reviews, defects, defect detection, groups, group process, group size, expertise, reading, training, behavioral research, theory, research program.
Citation:
Chris Sauer, D. Ross Jeffery, Lesley Land, Philip Yetton, "The Effectiveness of Software Development Technical Reviews: A Behaviorally Motivated Program of Research," IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 1-14, Jan. 2000, doi:10.1109/32.825763
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