The use of Bayesian networks to determine software inspection process efficiency

Cockram, Trevor John (2002). The use of Bayesian networks to determine software inspection process efficiency. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000e33a

Abstract

Adherence to a defined process or standards is necessary to achieve satisfactory software quality. However, in order to judge whether practices are effective at achieving the required integrity of a software product, a measurement-based approach to the correctness of the software development is required. A defined and measurable process is a requirement for producing safe software productively. In this study the contribution of quality assurance to the software development process, and in particular the contribution that software inspections make to produce satisfactory software products, is addressed.

I have defined a new model of software inspection effectiveness, which uses a Bayesian Belief Network to combine both subjective and objective data to evaluate the probability of an effective software inspection. Its performance shows an improvement over the existing published models of inspection effectiveness. These previous models made questionable assumptions over the distribution of errors and were essentially static. They could not make use of experience both in terms of process improvement and the increased experience of the inspectors.

A sensitivity analysis of my model showed that it is consistent with the attributes which were thought important by Michael Fagan in his research into the software inspection method. The performance of my model show that it is an improvement over published models and over a multiple logistic regression model, which was formed using the same calibration data.

By applying my model of software inspection effectiveness before the inspection takes place, project managers will be able to make better use of inspection resource available. Applying the model using data collected during the inspection will help in estimation of residual errors in a product. Decisions can then be made if further investigations are required to identify errors. The modelling process has been used successfully in an industrial application.

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