Re: Is there a formal name for an inspection process

Subject: Re: Is there a formal name for an inspection process
From: doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 22 May 2006 00:08:19 -0700

On Friday 19 May 2006 16:32, Peter Neilson wrote:
> Um, rearranging the deck chairs? No, this would be so they can
> actually budget time for the developers to review stuff. If
> it's derived from the "average" time to review a particular kind
> of doc,

Yep, the management skill of estimating is based on <drrrrumroll> METRICS, the
generally-openly-scorned method of acquiring data points from past projects
and learning from past experience. Methodologists thrive on the notion that
an organization can learn and become increasingly expert/accurate in
estimating the time required to accomplish a task.

The Romans had it right, if a wee bit arcane in their expression "METRICS sine
qua non sunt." Without metrics, nothing.

> then there might be a stiff penalty applied to those
> docs that need longer than the allocated time. But of course that
> happens anyway..."No time to review it. I'm on another project
> now, and I've been told not to talk to you. You'll have to go
> to [the new guy who's learning about the project from reading
> the docs you're trying to get reviewed]."

Gak. Codependence in the workplace, a new epidemic? My sources tell me it is
a root cause of off-shoring.

> John Posada wrote:
> > My manager's manager came to us asking if we knew the name of an
> > existing formal methodology that was used for determining the length
> > of time to be allocated for document review for developers.

It is 'estimating' and the deliverable to be estimated/scheduled is a
component of 'peer review' and/or 'technical documentation review.'

I would have mixed feelings if my boss of bosses inquired about this. It is a
bad sign, to be sure, if it means that to date they have not been gathering
datapoints and studying their processes. But otoh, it is good that the bosses
want to know more, right? Who knows, maybe they have data and are looking
for a way to learn from it?

Carnegie Mellon's Software Engineering Institute (SEI, see has an evolving methodology (ok, maybe it is a living
methodology, I'm not too clear on the difference), known as the Capabiltiy
Maturity Model (CMM), nee the System Lifecycle Model (SLM), that has used a
heuristic scale to rate an organization's maturity level from 1 - 5:

1. At this level an organization flies by the seat of pants, relying on faith,
hope, and unexamined expectation to get work done on time. Technical review
of documentation? HAHAHAHAH!
5. At this level an organization is whip-crack smart about their abilities.
They can predict how many bugs will will turn up and how long it will take to
fix them. Technical review of documentation? Count on it. How soon do you
need it?

I don't think you need to work at Level 5 to get a document reviewed <gee>.

Among SEI disciples, it was rumored some years back that only two organizaons
had ever achieved level 5--a payroll processing company in India, and NASA.
NASA has since blinked (grievous process failure is what happened to
Challenger and Columbia), but I believe many more organizations today are
levels 3,4,5 or equivalent based on SEI or oher methodologies, e.g., ISO9000.

> > I'm not talking about a homegrown process...this has a specific name
> > and specific steps. She wasn't sure if maybe it was developed by
> > Carnegie-Mellon, maybe by Unisys?

Anyway, SEI publishes lots of material and trains lots of organizations, so if
you have the time and inclination, on the SEI website you might be able to
snag the particular thing yer boss of boss is fishing for. I found this one
(from Siemens, though, not Unisys) with SEI website's search function:

I think the boss boss must have been to SEI training or else how would this
question ever have been composed in the first place?

> >
> > Has anyone heard of this defined methodology?

With baited breath I await your news of that detail. Good fishing!

Hope this helps,

Ned Bedinger
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com

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Is there a formal name for an inspection process: From: John Posada
Re: Is there a formal name for an inspection process: From: Peter Neilson

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