Peer Reviews in Software: A Practical Guide

Book Review
Title: Peer Reviews in Software: A Practical Guide
Author: Karl Wiegers
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (November 2, 2001)

Karl draws from his wealth of experience to give examples of productive peer review process in action. He talks about the culture of Development, why you may encounter resistance to peer reviews, and how to overcome these misgivings.

It’s not one-size-fits-all. Karl explains the different levels of formality depending on the culture and the context of the project. You may do best with fairly casual reviews among programmers, or you may need full-blown formal inspections. The book helps you sort that out. The case for peer reviews is compelling, including business reasons, reducing test cycles, improving quality, and improving morale within the Development team (if it’s done right).

An all-important difference between success and failure is how you handle the outcome of your process. From informal peer reviews to formal inspections, the book provides great insight on how best to use the information yielded from reviews and inspections. The book also helps you incorporate inspections into your standards compliance initiatives.

The bottom line is process improvement, whether formal standards compliance or just making your organization more effective. As the title says, it is a “Practical Guide,” and the insights will help you in every area: preparing and creating a culture of appropriate review/inspection, technical training, implementation, follow-up activities, and maximizing ROI.

Karl is a model of organized thought, and this book shows it—the step-by-step structure and overall organization make the concepts crystal clear and easy to adopt. To top it off, Karl Wiegers is a very good writer with a pleasing style. The book is a very good read.

Karl Wiegers, PhD, is a retired software-development, management, and quality consultant (owner of the consulting firm Process Impact). He is the author of some of the most widely read and popular books and articles in the industry. You can read more about Karl Wiegers’ books and other work at his two blogs:

You can also check out one of my old “Our Take” columns related to peer reviews and Karl’s book: Egads—they want to do peer reviews!

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