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Experiment at NASA SEL

A summary of this run of the experiment can be found in our summary report.

The Participants

This experiment was conducted with 14 software developers from the Software Engineering Laboratory (SEL) at the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. All were volunteers.

The subjects were assigned to the PBR roles randomly.

The Techniques

PBR was used with the three perspectives described in this lab package: designer, tester, user.

The comparison technique was the usual reading technique used at NASA/Goddard. This technique had evolved over time, and was based upon recognizing certain types of concerns which were identified and accumulated as a set of issues requiring clarification by the document's authors. It is a non-systematic technique in which reviewers have general and identical responsibilities.

The Documents Used

The generic documents were used along with excerpts from two actual flight dynamics documents from the NASA SEL domain.

The Setting

The experiment was conducted in a classroom environment at the University of Maryland. Participants reviewed the documents during two-hour review sessions, during which they were isolated from distractions and interruptions.

Other Changes

None. (This run of the experiment follows the design presented in this lab package.)

Comments from Participants

After the experiment, we solicited comments from the participants. We presented the results of our early analysis, and then solicited further comments. We include their comments here.

Summary of Results

PBR teams were seen to have an improved (statistically significant at the 0.05-level) coverage of defects, for both the generic and NASA documents. It was also shown that individuals using PBR performed better on the generic documents than non-PBR reviewers. There was, however, no significant effect on individual detection rates due to reading technique for the generic documents.

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