Software inspection requires thorough examination in order to be sure that it is safe for release. In order to successfully and reliably conduct such an examination, a plan is required.

Overview: What is a software inspection plan?

A software inspection plan is a formalized process of inspecting software for any issues. The typical steps involved in a software inspection plan are:

• Planning
• Overview
• Individual preparation
• Inspection meeting
• Rework
• Follow-up

3 benefits and 3 drawbacks of a software inspection plan

There are both benefits and drawbacks to a software inspection plan that should be noted:

1. Benefit: A defined goal

There is a defined common goal of the inspection plan to find any and all faults in the software.

2. Benefit: Strength in numbers

There are typically multiple people involved in the inspection, which allows for various perspectives and increases the likelihood that issues will not be overlooked.

3. Benefit: Highly structured

The inspection is conducted in a highly structured and sequential manner to ensure that all issues in the code are addressed thoroughly.

1. Drawback: Scheduling

With multiple people involved, scheduling and logistics can be difficult.

2. Drawback: Time-consuming

A formal software inspection can be a significant time commitment since it requires a lot of preparation as well as meetings.

3. Drawback: Factors that inhibit thoroughness

Various factors can contribute to it not being realistic to comb through every line of code, even with the involvement of multiple people.

Why is a software inspection plan important to understand?

A software inspection is important to understand for the following reasons:

Productivity Improvement

Having a solid understanding of a software inspection plan and following through on it can gradually lead to an increase in productivity improvement.

Saving resources

Understanding software inspection plans can help in identifying and resolving defects early in development. This can save valuable time and resources, as it is more difficult to address issues the closer software gets to release.


Knowing how to initiate a software inspection plan is a cost-effective way to help ensure quality, as it is generally done internally by team members.

An industry example of a software inspection plan

A software company is preparing the latest update to its drum machine app. In order to ensure that the update is free of any bugs and anomalies, several rounds of tests are ordered, as well as inspections. In order to run the inspections properly, a software inspection plan is drafted.

The first step in this software inspection plan is the planning stage. At this stage, the assigned moderator puts together the plan for the inspection. Once this is done, an overview meeting is held where everyone that will be involved in the inspection process is present. During this overview meeting, the author goes over the drum machine app and its latest updates. From here, the inspector examines the app and its update to identify any possible defects that are easily apparent. The inspector and their team then comb through the updates to the app to find any and all faults. After this, an inspection meeting is called, where the reader reads the work done part by part and the inspection team finds the faults in each area. The author then changes the work to remedy the faults. Finally, the changes that are made are inspected to see if everything is correct. After the changes are made, the team is ready to have the app update tested to see if it is ready for release.

3 best practices when thinking about a software inspection plan

Here are some best practices when putting together a software inspection plan

1. Do not rely solely on a software inspection plan to ensure quality

Software inspection is an effective method to deliver quality assurance, but it does have its limitations. Be sure to utilize other methods of quality assurance along with software inspection so that you can deliver as much quality assurance as possible to users.

2. Take breaks

If you are the team leader in charge of implementing the software inspection plan, be sure to work in breaks and activities that can add some levity for your team. Software inspection is generally a tedious, mind-numbing, and uncreative process. Reviewing code over and over can demotivate your team, so it is important to work in some downtime as well as keep the working environment positive.

3. Make sure there is an entry criterion

It is necessary for there to be entry criteria that are the determining factors for whether an inspection process is ready to start.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about a software inspection plan

What is the difference between software inspection and software testing?

Software inspection involves the examination of the work by peers, while software testing involves the actual execution of the code.

When was the concept of a software inspection plan first developed?

The first use of a software inspection plan can be traced back to IBM in the 1970s. It was developed once there was the realization that merely testing was not sufficient on its own for large applications in the pursuit of quality assurance in software.

What are some of the roles involved in s software inspection plan?

There are a number of roles involved in the successful execution of a software inspection plan. Some of the most common are the author or owner, the inspector, the moderator, the scribe, the reader, and the chief moderator. Some of these roles will likely be fulfilled by one individual, while others may have several assigned.

Software Inspection Plan Success

Running a successful software inspection plan requires having a team that understands each of its individual roles and is able to fulfill them. It is also necessary to always keep the group goal in mind and to ensure that you are collectively trying to deliver the best possible product to users. An over-reliance on software inspection can lead to oversight, so make sure that other methods are also used to deliver quality assurance.
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