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Framework for reducing post production defects in software industry

Divakar Harekal, Suma V

Abstract: Since, software has laid its impact on every field of operation, development of customer satisfied software is the prime hour of the day. In view of the fact that, defect is one of the major contributing factor to retain customer satisfaction. Production of software which is defect free is all the time the main objective of any software organization. However, accomplishment of the same is only plausibility. Though several defect management strategies exist in all IT industries towards development of nearly defect free software, yet there is a wide possibility of software to contain post production defects. This work comprises of a case study carried out in one of the leading software industry in order to explore the probability of post-production defect pattern. Hence, this research focused towards introducing an integration of a novel framework which ensures reduced post-production defects. In this framework, every activity of pre-production development of software has to be integrated with novel approaches to reduce post-production defects.

Key words: Software Engineering, Defect Management, Software Quality, Software Process, Software Development Life Cycle, Software

Metrics and Measurements, Total Customer Satisfaction

—————————— ——————————


From the time of industrial revolution, people are emphasizing upon various modes through which effective sustainability of the organizations can be achieved. Since the time of modern era, the introduction of software has made an impact on the live hood of the society. In fact software has become one of the inevitable organs of any system in this globalization era. Therefore, every organization which is using software components in their systems is working towards generating high quality software.
Defect is any deficiency found either in the end products or in the deliverables [1]. Also, defect can be caused due to inaccurate ways of developing the product, imprecise process of implementing the activities ultimately resulting in the final end product to be declared ineffective or defective. Thus, effective defect management is one of the most decisive activities in software industry. The awareness of defect detection methods enables defect prevention [2][3].
This is because by detecting the defects during the time it gets injected either in the product or in the deliverables or even during the process of coming out of deliverables also enables one to handle the defects effectively. Detection certainly ensures one to understand the defect, its nature, its impact and its vitality in getting rectified. There are therefore several defect detection techniques such as testing, correctness proof etc which helps the developers to find and fix the defects. However, if these defects are not identified at the earliest, it has led towards failure of the software or even losing of customers [5][6][7].
The main reason for above said claim is that cost, time for rework of these detected defects increases with delayed

Divakar Harekal is aresearch scholar at JJTU Rajasthan in computer science and engineering in India. E-mail:

Dr Suma V is currently, Head of Dayanandsagar Research and Industry

incubation Center India. E-mail:
detection process. Several researchers have therefore worked towards techniques which enable one to conduct early defect detection during the development process. In view of these points, this research started to investigate the defect impact especially when the product is deployed into the customer’s site.


Purushotham Narayan [15] proposes an enhanced software process, which includes defect prevention strategy to achieve high quality and bug-free product [15]. Vasudevan [8] recommends defect prevention activities, which includes commitment from the management, creation of an action plan related to defect prevention activities, periodic review, defect measurement, and causal analysis of the defects [8].
Jay Xiong and Jonathan Xiong [12] have proposed a new model called Defect Prevention and Traceability model in software development. This is a non-linear model, which supports both forward and backward traceability [12]. Pankaj Jalote et al. [9][10] states that development of high quality software product can be realized when the product has few defects [9][10].
Hence, an awareness of all facets of defects enables the practitioners to achieve effective defect management and develop products with minimal defects. Kollanus and Koskinen [11] present a survey of research work in the area of inspection, since 1991 to 2005. They further express that research in the direction of the introduction of novel inspection methods is very less [11].
DP technique reduces the number of defects in the development life cycle. It further enhances business performance. Thus, investing in defect prevention reduces the cost of defect detection and elimination. Defect-free product reduces support cost, programming cost, development time, and competitive advantage. It therefore has a direct and

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strong impact on the time, cost, and quality of the deliverables.


From various research observations made all throughout these many years by various researchers, it is found that rework time and cost is extremely expensive especially if the defect is detected during post production phase. To get more clarity on the above facts, this research progressed to find more information about the types of defects, their occurrences in the developmental phase. Thus, various software organizations were visited. However, the population of software organizations are so high, that this research redirected towards study of selected software companies. Since, the aim of this research is to reduce post production defect as it is extremely expensive to fix at that point and needs complete rework of the project, this research focused towards those organizations which are following defect detection and prevention schemes. These companies will have strategies which will make our research to get more empirical information and thereby help us to come to with solutions to reduce post production defects.
Hence, this research marched towards selecting only CMMI level 4 and 5 matured organizations. Among those randomly sampled industries, there were yet several challenges to face. One such challenge is that all these industries are again developing huge number of projects of various types and
domains. In order to resolve this challenge, again this research moved towards selecting only projects of domains like telecom and healthcare. Since, these projects were developed during 2013 to 2014, it was possible to analyze the current defect patterns in this recent era. These projects were developed using COBOL programming language.
Sources of data collection included data collection from log, defect prevention centres, from quality assurance departments, from project personnel using face to face communications, records, and emails using questionnaire etc. Data thus collected was analyzed and the inferences drawn are explained in subsequent sections.


The objective of this part of the research is to discover the connotation of existence of post production defects in software industries. This research now progressed to present a case study carried out in the sampled leading software industry. Table 1 thus presents a sample of 5 projects which are drawn from varying project complexity. These projects are having a complexity between 3 and 4 indicating that a complexity level of 1 is simple project and level 5 complexity in projects indicate the highest degree of complexity since in this set of samples from the industry, complexity is measured in a scale of 1 to 5. The table further provides information about defect escape, customer reported defects, time and cost of rework.

Table 1. Defect Summery of the sampled projects







Project hours of







Cost (**)






Complexity (to the

scale of 1 to 5)






# of defects captured






# of escapes






# of customer

reported defects






# customer

satisfaction index(CSI)






Rework Cost(**)






Rework Time(*)







(*) - Measured in person hours; (**) - Thousand US Dollars

Table 1 thus presents a sample of 5 projects which are drawn from varying project complexity. These projects are

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having a complexity between 3 and 4 indicating that a complexity level of 1 is simple project and level 5 complexity in projects indicate the highest degree of complexity since in this set of samples from the industry, complexity is measured in a scale of 1 to 5. The table further provides information about defect escape, customer reported defects, time and cost of rework.
From the empirical investigation carried out in those software industries with healthcare and telecom domain projects, the defect captured by testing team and defects captured by user acceptance team are identified. It was observed from the study that number of defects increases with complexity. However, this growth is not exponential indicating that with increase in complexity, the probability of defects getting injected also increases and that this increase need not be linear. However, the count of defects in complex projects will be certainly more than the count of defects that one can predict to be introduced by the development team of low complexity projects.

4.2 Progress Of Research Due To Investigation Inferences

From the investigation of the empirical projects, in this research, it is found that if project has a complexity of low, then defect count in terms of defect escapes will be less than 3. It is also observed that whenever complexity of project is medium, defect leaks will not be more than 3 to 6. It is important for organization to always maintain a healthy customer satisfaction index. Hence, it was found that total
number of defects reported by customers has a direct relation with their satisfaction levels. However, this count of customer reported defects is in turn depending on the probability in which defect leaks were finally captured as a last remedy during pre-production phase of software life cycle. Also, it was found out that the count of defect leaks is in turn depending on the best ability of the testing team to capture maximum defects during their testing phase of the software process. Consequently, it is the procedures that are followed during pre-production phase that affects the post-production defect count. This study enables us to develop a test framework that can detect all defects in the development life cycle. Such a framework can only be possible by building quality in every step of the development cycle.

4.3 Introduction Of Framework For Reducing Post

Production Defects

Though, several researches as indicated in the above literature survey indicates various techniques, methods, tools for defect prevention, yet there is still a challenge to achieve complete defect prevention status in any project. Hence, in this research, it is recommended to follow the novel framework for reducing post-production defects using the steps suggested to be strictly followed during the pre- production activities. The entire framework suggested in depicted in the figure 1.

Framework that reduces post-production defects

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This approach involves normal process that is followed and the suggested actions during the normal flow of activities such that pre-production defect count is reduced. Hence, in this part of the research, both normal flow of process and the suggested remedies are both explained. Further an explanation about impact of normal flow of operations and benefits that are ensured to be realized due to the following of remedial actions as per the new framework is also explained.

Normal Flow of activities: Step 1: Requirements


• According to the framework, software that needs to be developed will as usual undergo developmental process.
• Until the product is deployed to the customers, it is in pre- production phase. During the beginning of pre-production phase, as per the habitual mode of working, requirements are collected from the potential stakeholders. Stakeholders are those people who are directly involved in the application or end product which is getting developed.
• These are the people who will be directly affected by the
product. Hence, requirements are collected from them.
• The requirements collection activity is an oral
communication task which involves understanding the
problem better. Modes of collecting requirements can be
face to face communication, telephonic conversations,
interviews, video conference etc.
• Entire task is undertaken using natural language namely
English especially for non-critical applications. Whenever
applications require extremely high quality and fully defect free product many a times, specifications are collected using S language, Z language and other such mathematical modelling techniques.
• Further, it is worth to note that testing of collected requirements does takes place in many organizations to ensure defect less requirements elicitation process. Sometimes, these testing involve static verification such as reviews or inspections.


• The above stated entire process involves collection of
requirements from various streams of people.
• Hence, there is always a wide possibility of not
understanding the requirements clear, not able to express
precisely, possibility of misinterpretation,
miscommunication, political and economical barriers which
hinders the requirements collection process to be effective.
• All these reasons attributes to requirements being defective
in nature. Some amount of defects is however captured due
to validation approaches like reviews and inspections.


• Since, stringent actions of validation is not yet emphasized,
due to defective requirements, subsequent activities in the
developmental process further get affected.
• This is because what is collected will be specified in the
requirements specification documents based on which
further development and testing occurs.

Enhanced Actions:

• Testing is not just enough for validating the requirements
elicitation process but needs a logical step in the cycle to

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measure defect injection in this activity such that these measures should weed them out during that phase and not allow them to pass on to the next phase. Hence, it is required to introduce measurements to measure the quality of requirements collection process, effectiveness of the collection process and efficiency of the analysts in collecting the requirements.
• Further, solution is to bring in the concept of strong traceability matrix updated frequently for every change that is made in the requirements collection process and in fact the entire communication process and carries through until testing.
• It is important to communicate these changes to all the downstream phases in such a way that the corresponding documents are updated and the latest version are available to all users, stakeholders and analysts.
• The entire software development process is akin to an
orchestra where precise coordination is the essence of the
• In order to achieve this close coordination we need to put in
place proper checks and balances.
• These checks and balances could be in the form of checklist,
template, inspection sheet and reporting tools
• The communication plan is an important document which
brings in all the coordination together. A sample of that
document is attached o the appendix.


• Due to following of above said integration of actions in the
normal flow, certainly requirements collection process
ensures reduced defective requirements elicitation.
• Hence, requirements become more complete, consistent,
precise and accurate.
• In turn, defects addressed due to reasons of requirements
collection process are reduced.

Normal Flow of activities: Step 2: Requirements specification

• The collected requirements are analyzed, prioritized and finally specified in the requirements document popularly known as software specification.
• The specification is usually a document which is specific to the company’s template. It includes functionalities to be developed, constraints in which they have to developed and operated, quality requirements that needs to be met for customer satisfaction and so on.
• The document is usually written in English language and hence possible misinterpretations of statements are wide.
• The document further contains models to make things clear. Validation however does occur even for this activity in the form of reviews and inspections.
• Nevertheless, there still preside incomplete requirements specifications in the document.


• Due to misunderstanding or incomplete collection process,
specification also becomes incomplete and ambiguous.
• Due to specifications being in natural and unstructured
language, defects occur.
• A defect in this document may be misinterpreted
requirements, incomplete requirements, skipped out
requirements, masked requirements due to some political
or economical backgrounds, lack of clarity on the
requirements etc.


• Due to defective requirements specifications, subsequent
activities get affected. Hence, about 58 percent of total
defects in any project are attributed due to requirements
engineering process.
• It is also proven that defects due to requirements is very
expensive in terms of time, cost for rework.

Enhanced actions:

• It is recommended that requirements specifications be
validated using measurement approach where metrics are
introduced to analyze the completeness, preciseness,
ambiguity in the requirements specified.
• Though, these are existing, it is quite evident that practise
of these metrics and measurements are still immature.
• Further, qualitatively measured and quantitative analyzed
specifications should be dynamically updated in
traceability matrix such that maintenance of these
requirement changes is taken care and defects are reduced.
• Additionally, measured, traced and maintained
specifications has to be completely communicated and
coordinated among the downstream and upstream people
such that it opens opportunities for bringing in clarity
about specifications among all the members of the team
and also enables to discover hidden defects due to
brainstorming approaches.


• Due to measurements of specifications, it is now possible to
analyze the quality of specified requirements.
• Defects are uncovered in greater extent due to
communication and coordination policies
• Reduction of requirements defect certainly brings down
defect count in a larger extent and its rework time, cost
resources to fix such defects reduces to a greater extent.

Normal Flow of activities: Step 3: Design

• Once requirement specifications are completed with
validation check in the normal flow of activities, one copy
of the specifications is handed over to chief architect to start
the design process.
• The architect comes out with system level architecture such
that entire collection of subsystems, its relations with each
other and rationale for choosing such an architectural
pattern sis justified.
• Hence, it becomes critical for the right choice of
architectural pattern for the requirements specified.
• With the selected pattern, high level design of components
is made. It includes decisions for the relationship between
inter components and intra components, classes included in
the components, interfaces between the components etc.
• Having made the high level decision on the components
and its details, low level design is undertaken which
includes data structure choice and algorithms for
implementation of pin to pin details of these components,
their logic etc.
• All these activities are further validated with reviews and
inspections in the normal flow of process.


Design is made using design languages such as UML and
uses various other supporting modelling diagrams like data
flow diagrams, schematic diagrams etc.

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• Tools are extensively used for the above purpose. However, these design decisions are highly creative which binds the technology to the user needs.
• The design specifications are given to the programmers to come out with code which is implementable.


• It is found that about 27 percent of defects in any project are
attributed mainly due to design imperfections.
• These further lead towards programmers developing code
for imperfect design.
• Since design is not flexible due to the inapproarpirate
choice of archeitetural patterns or desings decisions, it is
not possible for various systems to get it adaptable to
changing requirements.
• This further leads towards nonoperational functionalities
in case of changing requirements, which in turn acts as
need for modifications. In case of non tracking of these
change requests, it leads to defects.

Enhanced Actions:

• Since, design is one of the creative activities of software
development process, it is required for analyzing the
effectiveness of choice of design patterns, architectural
styles and design decisions using measurements.
• A qualitatively and quantitatively measured design by
introduction of metrics for measuring all the quality
constrains such as coupling, cohesion, relationships etc
enables reduction of design defects.
• Any decision on alternate solutions to design has to be
dynamically updated in traceability matrix such that
further enhancements to design leads to reduced defect
• Additionally, communication of design decisions and
tactics used in the development process needs to be
communicated and coordinated among the team of
developing personnel so that it ensures discovery of flaws,
elimination and thereby enhancement of quality of design.


• Integration of measurements for every choice of design
decisions and tactics ensures reduced injection of design
• Maintenance of traceability matrix for every changes
incorporated in the design ensures clarity in design
modifications at the times of enhancement of the project or
maintenance of the project
• Due to reduced number of design defects due to complete
awareness of design tactics to all the project personnel, it
ensures reduced programming defects. This is because
design decisions are well known to the developers and
testers and also to the analysts so that their developmental
activities are incompliance with the design made.
• Due to reduced design flaws, it is now possible to go with
minimal rework cost and time in case of any customer
reported bugs.
• Reduced design defects enable the product to be more
adaptable, portable and interoperable.

Normal Flow: Step 4: Code construction

• Once design is decided and completed, the low level design
document is handed over to the programmers for them to
start their coding activities.
• Code is developed using some programming languages
and in a selected technology.
• Choice of technology selection, language selection is also a part of requirements phase. Based on the design selected modules are handed over to various teams to construct code to them.
• As a part of this activity, programmers conduct unit testing to find out defects injected due to code written.
• These defects may be syntax or semantic defects.
• Hence, testing is performed both statically and dynamically
to the code.
• Static testing is conducted using reviews and
• Sometimes inspections are also conducted to detect and
eliminate static defects.
• Static defects are those defects which can be detected and
eliminated by visual examination of the deliverables.
• However, dynamic defects are those which are detected
only using testing of implementable code.


• Due to code generation, project development is now
complete such that it can be given to the clients for their
validation process.
• Code developed consumes most of the effort and it is this
activity which involves large number of people working
when compared to other phases of software development.
• Since, code is written by programmers and involves
coordination of large number of people, their skill set and
competences in the programming languages, effectiveness
of this part of the project is highly people oriented.


• It is observed that code defects are around 16 percent of
total defect count in any project.
• Due to involvement of technology, people and skill set,
based on the complexity of projects, defects injection is
• Projects with well known technology, highly used
programming languages where their pros and cons are well
aware, it is quite possible for defect to be lesser in number.
• However, with increasing complexity, code defects also
gets increased.

Enhanced actions:

• Though unit testing is undertaken during coding activity,
yet programmers are not able to develop reduced pre-
production defects. Hence, it is required to measure the
quality of code written and it impact
• There is thus need for introducing qualitative and
quantitative metrics which measures the skill set, depth of
domain knowledge of the programmers, their ability to
develop quality code in optimal effort
• Every change made to the code should be dynamically
maintained as per the traceability matrix so that every fix of
a defect in code does not lead to bad fix.
• Every modifications made to the modules should be
coordinated and communicated so that chain defects and
ripple effect of defects are reduced.


• Due to integration of quality measurements, dynamically
updated traceability matrix and complete cooperation,
coordination and communication philosophy in the code
construction phase with all project personnel upstream the
ladder of the organization and downstream the ladder of
organization of the project chart ensures reduced defect

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• Due to reduction of coding defects, defect to be captured due to defect leaks will reduce indicting effective project development process
• Further, reduction in defects captured reduces testing effort and improves code quality

Normal Flow: Step 5: User Acceptance Test

• Once testing is completed, the product developed will be
put forth for user acceptance test popularly known as UAT.
• This activity is the transition period for the entire software
development process where the product is either accepted
by the customers or rejected or subjected for revisions.
• This team of users tests the product for cross verifying if all
the specified requirements as per the SRS is in compliance
with the operations of the product or not.
• It is also here that those defects which were undetected
during testing process are discovered. Such defects
identified by the UAT team are called popularly as defect
leaks or defect escapes.
• Effectiveness of defect capturing at this point of
development ensures reduced post-production defects.
• This is because, this is the last opportunity for the
developing personnel to weed out the defects before it is
deployed to the field
• This acts as the last quality gate crossing which every defect
becomes highly expensive to fix.


• Due to user acceptance test, any defects which have
escaped from the testing process due to reasons like time
constraints, resource constraints etc can still be discovered.
• The maximum capture of defect escapes ensures higher
quality level
• Detection of defects by the user acceptance testing
community brings in confidence for the developing team to
deploy the product to the customer site.


• It is observed that higher the number of defect escapes
lesser the number of customer reported defects.
• Once the product is deployed to the customers, it is very
expensive to fix the defect.
• Some of the reasons being accepting the modifications to fix
the defect may sometimes act as a new project which
involves allocating project team and time, cost, resources
• Further, the team who developed may not be the team who
will fix the defects as per the needs of the customer.
• Hence, it becomes time consuming and the learning curve
will be more. Learning curve is the time required for project
personnel to read, understand and analyze the deliverables.
• If the detection of defects is in house before deploying it to
the customers, the people who were involved in the
development phase will be still in the project wherein the
learning curve is almost nil.

Enhanced Actions:

• Integration of measurements in user acceptance activity
provides users to understand the product and thereby
evaluate the product in the level of customer required
• Metrics which measures the satisfaction level of customers
needs to be introduced such that it enables the developers
to develop the product as per the customer wants and
hence need not expect the risk of defects occurring in the
operational phase.
• Every defect detected during user acceptance test needs to be dynamically updated in the traceability matrix such that maintenance of the product or enhancement to the product is easier and accurate
• A good communication, coordination and collaboration of users with the developing team certainly make sure that product is ultimately developed as per the specifications of the customers.


• Due to the integration of measurements in the user
acceptance test activity, it becomes possible to comprehend
the depth in which defect leaks are captured by the
• Metrics further enables the customers to know about the
quality of the product.
• Measurements acts as quality indicators and eye opener for
customers to justify for the amount negotiated and efforts
put to develop the product.
• Due to dynamic updating of every defect captured and
fixed, it is easy for maintenance of the product and
customers are aware of effort put by the developing
personnel towards fixing of defects.
• Communication of customers with all streams of
developing team enables them to understand the reasons
for developing the project in the way it is completed, its
justifications, its strengths and limitations.
• Due to collaboration and coordination, every project
developed leads towards reduced post-production defects
and enhanced customer satisfaction levels.
Thus, integration of this framework in the normal development life cycle ensures reduced pre-production defect injection, increases defect detection and elimination process. It further enables detection of defects close to the point in which the defects were introduced by the developing personnel. Closer the detection of defects to its origin, reduced is the cost, time and effort required to fix the same. It further enhances customer satisfaction as customer report defects also known as post-production defects are greatly reduced.


The total customer satisfaction promotes the continued existence of a software industry. Effective defect management is the fundamental activity to attain complete customer satisfaction. The two successful approaches of effective defect management are defect detection and defect prevention. Awareness of defect pattern enables better defect detection and defect prevention in software development.
Thus, an empirical investigation was carried out across projects and in inferences was drawn. Hence, this research focused towards introducing an integration of a novel framework which ensures reduced post-production defects.
In this framework, every activity of pre-production development of software has to be integrated with novel approaches to reduce post-production defects. Therefore, every activity such as requirements collection, requirements specifications, design, code construction and user acceptance testing needs to be subjected to integration framework. Integration formwork includes introduction of measurement systems at all levels of production such that

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every stage is meticulously tested for quality of development and ensures detection of defects in case of their injection nearing to their origin. Further, the framework emphasizes upon dynamic updating of defects details and changes incorporated due to change request made in the developmental activities. This updated information enables the maintenance and enhancement of the product very easy and clear. This clarity further reduces the scope of defects to be injected and detected at later stages of post-production. Further, the new framework includes complete interactions of the developing team with customers. Hence, every activity is communicated, coordinated and collaborated among the upstream and downstream people in the project organizational hierarchy which reduces the scope of defects getting introduced due to miscommunication, misinterpretations, ambiguity and so on. Hence, reduced pre-production defects ensure higher
degree of reduction in post-production defects. Reduced pros-production defects certainly bring in enhanced customer satisfaction index. This framework thus acts as a solution towards reducing post-production defects in any software projects in any software developing organization. The analysis is applicable to small, medium and large projects developed with similar technology, environment and programming languages. However, these observational inferences may not be applicable to innovative projects and projects developed with dissimilar platforms.


Authors would like to thank all the industry personnel who have enabled this research to progress with their valuable suggestions, data and ideas under the framework of non- disclosure agreement policy.


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