Review tools (also known as review process support tools) provide a framework for reviews or inspections. This can include:
1) Maintaining information about the review process, such as rules and checklists.
2) The ability to record, communicate and retain review comments and defects.
3) The ability to amend and reissue the deliverable under review whilst retaining a history or log of the changes made.
4) Traceability functions to enable changes to deliverables under review to highlight other deliverables that may be affected by the change.
5) The use of web technology to provide access from any geographical location to this information.
Review tools can interface with configuration management tools to control the version numbers of a document under review.
If reviews and inspections are already performed effectively then a review tool can be implemented fairly quickly and relatively cheaply. However, if such a tool is used as a means for imposing the use of reviews then the training and implementation costs will be fairly high (as would be the case for implementing a review process without such tools). These tools support the review process, but management buy-in to reviews is necessary if benefits from them are to be obtained in the long run.
Review tools tend to be more beneficial for peer (or technical) reviews and inspections rather than walkthroughs and informal reviews.