Monday, June 30, 2008

Peer Review Defect Categories

During peer reviews and testing we find defects and record them in defect log sheet. These defects can be used further for defect data analysis or other purposes (defect prevention). Keeping all these in mind, what defect categories should the organization use for better and easy analysis?

Rather than ask what others are using as defect categories, you should be analyzing your defect data and determine the categories that your defects naturally fall into. These categories also need to have meaning for your organization. If you were to use someone else’s categories and these categories do not relate to your products, projects, or organization, then they will be meaningless. Just like the exercise you should be going through to define your measures (MA), you should also perform a similar exercise to decide on the defect categories. In point of fact, this decision is one of the Measurement and Analysis (MA) steps you should be doing to define your peer review measures. You are really talking about what the CMMI calls derived measures. One set of defect categories MIGHT be process defects, requirements defects, design defects, and interface defects. However, once again, you have to determine which categories support the information needs you should be documenting by following the MA process. Basically, what problem(s) are you trying to solve by performing peer reviews? Once you can clearly answer that question, then you will be able to determine your necessary defect categories.

Satish Kumar provided some addtional information to my response:

Typically IBMs Orthogonal Defect classification is widely used in software projects with minor additions / modifications to defect types. You can get more details about the same from the following link:

The link takes you to IBM's "center for software engineering"site. Browse through the publications to find good information about defect classification.

Note: In your organization's defect types categories, avoid using a type named "Miscellaneous / others". My observation is when we included this type, people had a higher tendency to classify using this category and this is not useful to do any defect analysis.

Thanks & Regards,
Tumu Satish Kumar
SCAMPI Lead Appraiser
CMMI Instructor
Concept QA Labs Pvt. ltd.

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