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ISTQB Foundation Level Exam Crash Course Part-6

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ISTQB Foundation Level Exam Crash Course Part-6

This is Part 6 of 35 containing 5 Questions (Q. 26 to 30) with detailed explanation as expected in ISTQB Foundation Level Exam Latest Syllabus updated in 2011

Deep study of these 175 questions shall be of great help in getting success in ISTQB Foundation Level Exam

Q. 26: What are the different objectives of reviews?

Reviews have different objectives, where the term ‘review objective’ identifies the main focus for a review. Typical review objectives are:

1) Finding defects.
2) Gaining understanding.
3) Generating discussion.
4) Decision making by consensus.

The way a review is conducted will depend on what its specific objective is, so a review aimed

primarily at finding defects will be quite different from one that is aimed at gaining understanding of a document.

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Q. 27: What are the different elements of Basic Review Process?

All reviews, formal and informal alike, exhibit the same basic elements of process that are:

1) The reviewers study the document under review.

2) Reviewers identify issues or problems and inform the author either verbally or in a documented form, which might be as formal as raising a defect report or as informal as annotating the document under review.

3) The author decides on any action to take in response to the comments and updates the document accordingly.

This basic process is always present, but in the more formal reviews it is elaborated to include additional stages and more attention to documentation and measurement.

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Q. 28: What are the different activities of a Formal Review

Reviews at the more formal end of the spectrum, such as technical reviews and inspections, share certain characteristics that differentiate them from the less formal reviews, of which walkthroughs are a typical example.

Key stages in formal reviews are as shown in the following Figure.

1) Planning:

# Selecting the personnel: Ensuring that those selected can and will add value to the process. There is little point in selecting a reviewer who will agree with everything written by the author without question. As a rule of thumb it is best to include some reviewers who are from a different part of the organization, who are known to be ‘picky’, and known to be dissenters.

Reviews, like weddings, are enhanced by including ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’. In this case ‘something old’ would be an experienced practitioner; ‘something new’ would be a new or inexperienced team member; ‘something borrowed’ would be someone from a different team; ‘something blue’ would be the dissenter who is hard to please. At the earliest stage of the process a review leader must be identified. This is the person who will coordinate all of the review activity.

# Allocating roles: Each reviewer is given a role to provide them with a unique focus on the document under review. Someone in a tester role might be checking for testability and clarity of definition, while someone in a user role might look for simplicity and a clear relationship to business values. This approach ensures that, although all reviewers are working on the same document, each individual is looking at it from a different perspective.

# Defining the entry and exit criteria: Especially for the most formal review types (e.g. inspection).

# Selecting the parts of documents to be reviewed (not always required; this will depend on the size of the document: A large document may need to be split into smaller parts and each part reviewed by a different person to ensure the whole document is reviewed fully).

2) Kick-off: Distributing documents; explaining the objectives, process and documents to the participants; and checking entry criteria (for more formal review types such as inspections). This can be run as a meeting or simply by sending out the details to the reviewers. The method used will depend on time-scales and the volume of information to pass on. A lot of information can be disseminated better by a meeting rather than expecting reviewers to read pages of text.

3) Review entry criteria: This stage is where the entry criteria agreed earlier are checked to ensure that they have been met, so that the review can continue - this is mainly used in the more formal review types such as inspections.

4) Individual preparation: Work done by each of the participants on their own before the review meeting, which would include reading the source documents, noting potential defects, questions and comments. This is a key task and may actually be time-boxed, e.g. participants may be given two hours to complete the preparation.

5) Noting incidents: In this stage the potential defects, questions and comments found during individual preparation are logged.

6) Review meeting: This may include discussion regarding any defects found, or simply just a log of defects found. The more formal review types like inspections will have documented results or minutes. The meeting participants may simply note defects for the author to correct; they might also make recommendations for handling or correcting the defects. The approach taken will have been decided at the kick-off stage so that all participants are aware of what is required of them.

The decision as to which approach to take may be based on one or all of the following factors:

# Time available (if time is short the meeting may only collect defects).

# Requirements of the author (if the author would like help in correcting defects).

# Type of review (in an inspection only the collection of defects is allowed - there is never any discussion).

7) Examine: This includes the recording of the physical meetings or tracking any group electronic communications.

8) Rework: After a review meeting the author will have a series of defects to correct; correcting the defects is called rework.

9) Fixing defects: Here the author will be fixing defects that were found and agreed as requiring a fix.

10) Follow-up: The review leader will check that the agreed defects have been addressed and will gather metrics such as how much time was spent on the review and how many defects were found. The review leader will also check the exit criteria (for more formal review types such as inspections) to ensure that they have been met.

11) Checking exit criteria: At this stage the exit criteria defined at the start of the process are checked to ensure that all exit criteria have been met so that the review can be officially closed as finished.

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Q. 29: What are the general Roles and Responsibilities of different members in a review team?

The role of each reviewer is to look at documents belonging to them from their assigned perspective; this may include the use of checklists. For example, a checklist based on a particular perspective (such as user, maintainer, tester or operations) may be used, or a more general checklist (such as typical requirements problems) may be used to identify defects.

In addition to these assigned review roles the review process itself defines specific roles and responsibilities that should be fulfilled for formal reviews. They are:

1) Manager: The manager decides on what is to be reviewed (if not already defined), ensures there is sufficient time allocated in the project plan for all of the required review activities, and determines if the review objectives have been met. Managers do not normally get involved in the actual review process unless they can add real value, e.g. they have technical knowledge key to the review.

2) Moderator: The moderator is sometimes known as the review leader. This is the person who leads the review of the document or set of documents, including planning the review, running the meeting, and follow-ups after the meeting. If necessary, the moderator may mediate between the various points of view and is often the person upon whom the success of the review rests. The moderator will also make the final decision as to whether to release an updated document.

3) Author: The author is the writer or person with chief responsibility for the development of the document(s) to be reviewed. The author will in most instances also take responsibility for fixing any agreed defects.

4) Reviewers: These are individuals with a specific technical or business background (also called checkers or inspectors) who, after the necessary preparation, identify and describe findings (e.g. defects) in the product under review. The reviewers should be chosen to represent different perspectives and roles in the review process and take part in any review meetings.

5) Scribe (or recorder): The scribe attends the review meeting and documents all of the issues and defects, problems and open points that were identified during the meeting.

An additional role not normally associated with reviews is that of the tester. Testers have a particular role to play in relation to document reviews. In their test analysis role they will be required to analyze a document to enable the development of tests. In analyzing the document they will also review it, e.g. in starting to build end-to-end scenarios they will notice if there is a ‘hole’ in the requirements that will stop the business functioning, such as a process that is missing or some data that is not available at a given point. So effectively a tester can either be formally invited to review a document or may do so by default in carrying out the tester's normal test analysis role.

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Q. 30: What is the spectrum of formality of review types?

A single document may be subject to many different review types: for example, an informal review may be carried out before the document is subjected to a technical review or, depending on the level of risk, a technical review or inspection may take place before a walkthrough with a customer.

Following figure shows the different levels of formality by review type.


Each type of review has its own defining characteristics. There are four types of reviews to cover the spectrum of formality. These are generally known as:

1) Informal review (least formal): Key characteristics are as under

a) There is no formal process underpinning the review.

b) The review may be documented but this is not required; many informal reviews are not documented.

c) There may be some variations in the usefulness of the review depending on the reviewer, e.g. the reviewer does not have the technical skills but is just available to check quickly and ensure that the document makes sense.

d) The main purpose is to find defects and this is an inexpensive way to achieve some limited benefit.

e) The review may be implemented by pair programming (where one programmer reviews the code of the other ‘pair programmer’) or by a technical lead reviewing designs and code.

2) Walkthrough: Key characteristics are as under

a) The meeting is led by the author of the document under review and attended by members of the author's peer group.

b) Review sessions are open-ended and may vary in practice from quite informal to very formal.

c) Preparation by reviewers before the walkthrough meeting, production of a review report or a list of findings, and appointment of a scribe who is not the author are all optional components that are sometimes present.

d) The main purposes are to enable learning about the content of the document under review, to help team members gain an understanding of the content of the document, and to find defects.

e) Walkthroughs typically explore scenarios, or conduct dry runs of code or process.

3) Technical review: Key characteristics are as under

a) Technical reviews are documented and use a well-defined defect detection process that includes peers and technical experts.

b) The review is usually performed as a peer review without management participation and is ideally led by a trained moderator who is not the author.

c) Reviewers prepare for the review meeting, optionally using checklists, and prepare a review report with a list of findings.

d) Technical reviews may vary in practice from the quite informal to very formal and have a number of purposes, including: discussion, decision making, evaluation of alternatives, finding defects, solving technical problems and checking conformance to specifications and standards.

4) Inspection (most formal): Key characteristics are as under

a) Inspections are led by a trained moderator who is not the author and usually involve peer examination of a document; individual inspectors work within defined roles.

b) The inspection process is formal, based on rules and checklists, and uses entry and exit criteria.

c) Pre-meeting preparation is essential, which would include reading of any source documents to ensure consistency.

d) An inspection report, with a list of findings, is produced, which includes metrics that can be used to aid improvements to the process as well as correcting defects in the document under review.

e) After the meeting a formal follow-up process is used to ensure that corrective action is completed and timely.

f) The main purpose is to find defects, and process improvement may be a secondary purpose.

g) In reality the lines between the review types often get blurred and what is seen as a technical review in one company may be seen as an inspection in another. The above is the ‘classic view’ of reviews. The key for each company is to agree the objectives and benefits of the reviews that they plan to carry out.

Part - 7 of the Crash Course - ISTQB Foundation Exam

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