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Peer Reviews in Software: A Practical Guide Paperback – November 2, 2001

ISBN-13: 078-5342734850 ISBN-10: 0201734850 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (November 2, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201734850
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201734850
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #539,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"I will tell my friends and other folks in quality assurance and process management roles to RUN (don't walk) and buy Peer Reviews in Software. In fact, my organization could use this book RIGHT NOW." —Brad Appleton

Karl's writing is nicely motivational, reasonably detailed, and covers the range of issues that are important." —Mark Paulk

There is nothing wrong with making mistakes; it is part of what makes us human. Catching the errors early, however, before they become difficult to find and expensive to correct, is very important. A peer review program is a vital component of any quality software development effort, yet too few software professionals have had the experience or training necessary to implement peer reviews successfully.

Concise, readable, and pragmatic, Peer Reviews in Software walks you through the peer review process and gives you the specific methods and techniques you need to help ensure a quality software release. Comprehensively covering both formal and informal processes, the book describes various peer review methods and offers advice on their appropriate use under a variety of circumstances.

This book focuses on—but is not limited to—the technique of inspection. This is the most formal, rigorous, and effective type of peer review. The various stages of inspection—including planning, individual preparation, conducting inspection meetings, and follow-up—are discussed in detail. In addition, Peer Reviews in Software explores the cultural and social nuances involved in critiquing the work of others, and reveals

Specific topics include:

  • Overcoming resistance to reviews
  • Inspection teams and roles
  • Inspection process stages
  • Scheduling inspection events
  • Analyzing inspection data
  • Peer review training
  • Critical success factors and pitfalls
  • Relating peer reviews to process improvement models

Karl Wiegers closes with a look at special review challenges, including peer review of large work products and geographically dispersed development teams. He provides many practical resources to help you jump-start your review program, enhance communications on your projects, and ultimately ship high-quality software on schedule.


About the Author

Karl E. Wiegers, Ph.D., is Principal Consultant with Process Impact, a software process consulting and education company. He previously spent eighteen years at Eastman Kodak Company, where he held positions as a software applications developer, software manager, and software process and quality improvement leader. Karl has been participating in and leading software peer reviews throughout his extensive career.


More About the Author

Karl Wiegers is Principal Consultant with Process Impact ( in Portland, Oregon. He has provided training and consulting services worldwide on many aspects of software development, management and process improvement. Karl holds a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Illinois. Prior to starting Process Impact in 1997, he spent 18 years at Eastman Kodak Company as a research scientist, software developer, software manager, and software process improvement specialist.

Karl's most recent book is "Software Requirements, 3rd Edition", co-authored with Joy Beatty. This is a major enhancement of the bestselling second edition, which is a standard text for business analysts, requirements engineers, and other practitioners. Previously, he wrote a memoir of life lessons called "Pearls from Sand: How Small Encounters Lead to Powerful Lessons" and several other books on software development and management. Visit to get more information, follow the blog, and submit your own pearls of wisdom to share with the world.

Karl's professional goal is to create books, articles, training materials, templates, and other materials that can help improve the effectiveness of any individual or organization that develops software. You can download many of these items at He is the author of eight books and nearly 200 articles on many aspects of software, chemistry, and military history. His training seminars are available as eLearning courses at

When not at the keyboard, Karl enjoys reading military history, tasting (okay, drinking) wine, playing guitar, and writing and recording music. Check out his recipes at and his songs (if you dare) at

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
Every developer I have known has experienced the phenomena of spending an inordinate amount of time searching for a bug only to have a colleague look at the code and find it almost immediately. Study after study has indicated that the worst review process for software is self-criticism and the best is to have other coders take a good look at it. Therefore, it is logical that a formal process for developers reviewing each others code be implemented. The problem is that the former is informal, making it "off the books" and not subject to review by decision makers. Being human, developers react differently when their livelihood is potentially at stake, which can cause problems and prevent adequate reviews of the code.
Creating a stable, scalable and structured peer review system is not something that can be done by fiat or in a short time. It requires clear managerial direction that inspires confidence and builds a sense of security for both the evaluator and evaluated. Creating such an environment is the key and that is the main point of value in this book.
Wiegers lays out in great detail how to create a culture where all involved are peers in the real sense. It is absolutely necessary that everyone in the review process understand that creating quality software is the only thing that matters. Therefore, posturing, ego tripping, ego inflating, ego protection and all related activities must be suppressed. These are the most difficult tasks for professional humans to engage in, and it requires a combination of carrying a big stick to move the process as well as a soft pillow for the necessary falls from perfection. Wiegers shows you how to do this with the skill of a counselor.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ross Collard on January 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have attempted over the years to get various organizations to buy into peer reviews. We have lots of evidence why these reviews are highly worthwhile, but their implementation has not been anything to write home about. There's always many reasons why organizations don't buy in or give peer reviews half-hearted support.
In my opinion, this book is an important contribution to the field. I'm sufficiently impressed that I've passed copies of the book to a few busy software development managers, software engineers and business managers so far. They've taken the time to look at it, and they find the book talks to them -- it is clear, addresses their issues, offers practical solutions which they may not have considered before, and is persuasive. I believe the book will have a postive influence in their organizations.
I hope to see copies in lots more people's bookshelves.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Tom Gilb on January 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
Excellent up to date survey of the literature, excellent survey of the many methods and analysis of their differences. A rich insight into the area of peer reviews in general, including Inspections and their variations. Practical for the industrial user. Highly recommended.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ellen Gottesdiener on December 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
Practical is a key element of this book. Like Wiegers' other books, this one is well written and researched; it provides a concise guide to peer reviews along with a set of useful tools for the practitioner, or "assets" -- documents, procedures, and spreadsheets that you can implement right away to put reviews into practice.
It's amazing, but peer reviews are not a regular practice in many software organizations. Peer reviews are proven to save time, money and promote learning and understanding among project team members. Perhaps one reason for their lack of practice is that there has been, up until now, little in the literature that we can read and put into practice right away. Well, here it is!
One of the nice things about this book is that the author shows you how you can tweak peer reviews to make them work for your team or organization. He give due diligence, the psychological aspects of peer reviews. Wiegers explains all the roles involved, target work products to review, how to prepare for a review, what to record, what to measure, and even how to train on peer reviews.
The book includes a useful glossary, a set of troubleshooting review problems with symptoms and possible solutions, and those very useful assets on the author's web site(...). Example assets include: peer review process description, inspection checklist, spreadsheets for code and document inspection and a set of defect checklists.
Used in the context of careful reading of this book, teams can really do a lot to improve their products and relationships. This is a book to be read by analysts, developers, architects, project leaders and managers who care about the quality and cost of software.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kendall Rd Hermit on November 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
If you're looking for an introduction to peer reviews, this book should be your first choice. Karl covers the full spectrum of peer reviews from ad hoc to software inspections. The emphasis is on inspection and this is what I think is the most important contribution of this book. All facets of the inspection process are well covered with much valuable practical advice. Karl has also setup a companion website with valuable supplemental information including forms and checklists.
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