Every type of review has its own value whether it is informal or formal review as discussed in Chapter 3. For a very informal review, where one person looks at another’s document and gives a few comments about it, a tool such as this might just obstruct the informal review process. However, when the review process is more formal, when many people are involved, or when the people involved are in different geographical locations, then tool support become very useful.
It is possible to keep track of all the information for a review process using spreadsheets and text documents, but a review tool which is designed for the purpose is more likely to do a better job. For example, one thing that should be monitored for each review is the checking rate (number of pages checked per hour) that is the reviewers have not gone over the document too quickly.
A review process support tool could automatically calculate the checking rate and flag exceptions. The review process support tools can normally be customized for the particular review process or type of review being done.
Features or characteristics of review process support tools are:
- A common reference for the review process or processes to use in different situations.
- To store and sort review comments.
- To communicate comments to relevant people.
- To coordinate online reviews.
- To keep the track of comments, including defects found, and providing statistical information about them.
- Providing traceability between comments, documents reviewed and related documents;
- A repository for rules, procedures and checklists to be used in reviews, as well as entry and exit criteria.
- To monitor the review status (passed, passed with corrections, requires re-review).
- To collect metrics and report on key factors.