Top 10 List: Well Traveled Path to Source Code Analysis Success

on May 31, 11 • by Brendan Harrison • with 1 Comment

The Code Integrity folks have developed a lot of best practices on deploying static analysis and have compiled many of them in a solid whitepaper. They include a Top 10 list of what they call “The Well Traveled Path to Success”. Below is their (somewhat paraphrased in spots) list. 1. Determine who cares....

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The Code Integrity folks have developed a lot of best practices on deploying static analysis and have compiled many of them in a solid whitepaper. They include a Top 10 list of what they call “The Well Traveled Path to Success”. Below is their (somewhat paraphrased in spots) list.

Static Analysis Top 101. Determine who cares. Who has a vested interest that bugs actually get fixed. How much do they care?

2. Get an expert to tune the solution for your codebase. Static analysis tuning will maximize defect finding while minimizing false positives.
3. If possible, pilot with a small group to gain early successes.
4. Appoint the proper roles, particularly management sponsor, administrator, defect triagers, fixers and verifiers.
5. Set up the proper process, incentives and consequences. Integrate the SCA tool into your environment. Automate and simplify as much as possible.
6. Get a team to handpick good, high-priority defects for the team rather than have them sift through potential false positives.
7. Set up a central resource website that includes simplified documentation, policies, procedures, roles, reports, etc.
8. Set up various reports like the daily dashboard, top ten list and the “wall of shame”. Make it public. Do a little bit of marketing.
9. Train and mentor the team providing guidance, support and discipline. Either in-person or static analysis e-learning courses work.
10. Determine success criteria and measure it. Provide status updates often, work on a source code analysis ROI model that works for your organization.

I agree with the general thrust of most of these, but some might be overkill depending on the size of your deployment. My other quibble is that many of the recommendations presume a centralized defect triage model where you’d have a central group of code reviewers sifting though bug reports.

That’s a common deployment model, but we’re seeing more people choose to just provide the tool to their developers via desktop static analysis. With the possible exception of your backlog, this will eliminate (or greatly reduce) the need for a central code review team that stares at bugs all day long. Regardless, they’re all good considerations to at least, well… consider.

With the launch of the Klocwork Developer Network, we’re making a deliberate and concerted effort to make many of these kinds of deployment resources freely available to our customers. I’ve included links where appropriate.

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