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What do bugs and the Queens’ bedchamber have in common?

Written by Emiel Romein on . Posted in Exact Online

In the early hours of July 9th 1982 an unemployed father of four broke into Buckingham Palace and entered Queen Elizabeth II’s bedchamber. Michael Fagan was able to talk to the Queen for ten minutes – sitting on the edge of her bed – because the armed police officer outside the royal bedroom was out walking the Queen’s dogs.

Although this trespasser had clearly been testing – and finding – defects in the alarm system, he was not the same Michael Fagan whose investigative skills we appreciate here at Exact. This rather less controversial Mr Fagan cleverly invented a structured process for finding defects in programming code throughout the software development process – the Fagan Inspection.

Inspired by Michael (the second one!) we – at Exact Online – developed our own code review method and procedures to ensure that the code we produce, and the code our customers use, is not only as bug free as possible but future proof. And by reviewing each other’s code, we improve each other as well!

We choose to combine automated reviews with lightweight and formal reviews based on a checklist with only 7 items. The automated reviews make sure the reviewers don’t spend time on things that can be automated, while the 7 item checklist ensures the review can be done in one single check instead of cross checking code against a large checklist multiple times.

Keeping the reviews short and focused on the things that really matter is very important. This keeps code reviewing efficient, fast and worth the effort. Studies say the most bugs are found during first hour of reviewing. Extending the review time will not increase code quality, so be sure to use that hour of code reviewing as efficient as possible!

So, the next time you see the Queen on your telly, think of all those Exact Online developers and reviewers constantly thinking of ways to improve our software and its quality – inspired by the namesake of a 32-year-old mug thief who stopped by her bedroom for a midnight chat!

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