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Comparing the Defect Reduction Benefits of Code Inspection and Test-Driven Development

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3 Author(s)
Wilkerson, J.W. ; Sam & Irene Black Sch. of Bus., Pennsylvania State Univ., Erie, PA, USA ; Nunamaker, J.F., Jr. ; Mercer, R.

This study is a quasi experiment comparing the software defect rates and implementation costs of two methods of software defect reduction: code inspection and test-driven development. We divided participants, consisting of junior and senior computer science students at a large Southwestern university, into four groups using a two-by-two, between-subjects, factorial design and asked them to complete the same programming assignment using either test-driven development, code inspection, both, or neither. We compared resulting defect counts and implementation costs across groups. We found that code inspection is more effective than test-driven development at reducing defects, but that code inspection is also more expensive. We also found that test-driven development was no more effective at reducing defects than traditional programming methods.

Published in:

Software Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:38 ,  Issue: 3 )