Make it easy to promote the best practice of reviews and inspections while capturing valuable process data.
I first became acquainted with SmartBear when I was Director of Software Best Practices for a large and very well known personal finance company. While that company has a standard policy against being mentioned in anything that looks like an endorsement, I am happy to share my personal experiences working with SmartBear and their products. In my role I helped divisions around the country implement process improvements to increase quality and productivity, and promoted the use of measurement. CodeReports was our first SmartBear purchase, which we bought to gather source lines of code (SLOC) information from Perforce running on Windows. SmartBear really partnered with us to expand the initial capabilities of CodeReports and resolve issues, and we built a great working relationship.
We had started implementing formal inspections in late 2001 and had been filling out forms to capture inspection metrics. By mid-2002 we were using a home-grown application to store the metrics specified by the Fagan Defect-Free Process™. While adequate to record metric data, the application was a bit distracting to use during inspections, where it could slow down the process if the team had to wait while defects were entered.
Collecting data to show the return on inspections and help improve the inspection process became one of our hurdles in successfully promoting this valuable best practice. About a year later, SmartBear started exploring the opportunity of providing a better code inspection/review tool. They listened to the pros and cons of our tool, and asked about our needs and what we thought would be an ideal inspection tool. As they demonstrated with CodeReports, SmartBear did a superb job of listening to the problems and opportunities. When they showed us early prototypes of Collaborator to get feedback and gather more requirements, it was clear they had really listened to their customers. We signed up to be an early adopter and continued to partner with SmartBear to help evolve the application.