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Should we suggest the Independent technical review stage and ask the customer to consider the budget for it?

In detail:

  • decided the project plan with the Technical Architect/Solution Architect
  • estimated it with the Engineering team
  • delivered according to deadlines all requested features
  • tested with QA engineers
  • got some of the bug-report tickets from QA
  • got some Tech Dept tickets from Devs

We trust our engineering team, but how to be sure of the correctness of the result and help them to improve the technical staff on all levels?

So, the technical report from the independent technical specialist looks like a good way to get a detailed report about the correctness of decisions made at all levels and help our team to improve.

So, the main question is: we have already hired excellent specialists who have done an excellent job, so why would we hire another specialist with a higher level as an independent reviewer for a detailed assessment of the current state of the project?

Would be nice to find some research about:

  • is it a good practice?
  • how often engineering teams use the reports from Independent technical reviewers?
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    It's not very clear from your question why you are considering an independent technical review. It seems you have delivered your solution, or are in the final tune-up stage of the project. Do you have any concerns regarding the solution? Is there any problem you want to solve? Has something happened and you think you need a review? – Bogdan Nov 14 '20 at 16:44
  • Short answer, as I mentioned: "help our team to improve". In a long story: what if we chose not the optimal tech-stack of technologies on the arch-review stage? What if now we have such more tech-debt than we know from devs feedback? What if we have such more critical bugs than we got from QA -reviews? What if some of the features are implemented in ways that are hard to scale or maintain? etc. – Alexey Strizhak Nov 14 '20 at 16:58
  • You could start with a "project retrospective" or "lessons learned" session (as it's commonly known in traditional project management) and go with everyone over what went well, what went wrong, what could have been improved, and if you were to do it again, what would you do differently and why. Then decide based on the outcome of that session. I believe you will find it difficult to select an external reviewer, because they need to be familiar with the same technologies and domain but have more experience and practice than your team members. Plus, the customer will have to pay for it. – Bogdan Nov 14 '20 at 17:29
  • Yeah, we also using the retrospective meetings, that's great practice. But here is exactly the nature of the question: is it a good way to use "Independent technical review" as the same as other improvements practice. Try to think about it like about the security audit for example, but from the technical point of view – Alexey Strizhak Nov 14 '20 at 17:38
  • A security audit is different. It mainly exercises behaviour of the application and tries to identify vulnerabilities, or checks the application against a list of criterias that are considered good practice. You can pass a security audit with your application design, architecture and code being a total mess. You want someone to rip apart your design, look at the code, understand the architecture and the decisions that created one approach and not another, etc, then suggest solutions that actually work. You need someone with skills and experience, otherwise you will just be wasting your money. – Bogdan Nov 14 '20 at 17:59
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Based on what I've read (e.g. here) the Independent Technical Review is not so much to check the quality of the software - that's the job of your QA team.

It's also not because you don't trust your dev team; why would you hire people you don't trust. Besides, it sounds like they delivered a product that works, with minimal bugs.

The Independent Technical Review is to review the project to ensure the code can be maintained. E.g. is well documented and structured.

Point being, the Independent Technical Review is of little use for your customer, is mainly for your own internal (future) use; it wouldn't make much sense to ask your customer to pay for that.

Unless you are writing specialized software specifically for this customer, and you try persuade them that an Independent Technical Review will ensure the code can be maintained, without giving your team a suspicious reputation.

Caveat: I am unaffiliated with the abovementioned blog and cannot vouch for what is written there.

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Well, here's the only single phrase from your description that seriously demands my attention:

"looks like a good way to get a detailed report about the correctness of decisions made at all levels"

"Obviously, someone is now trying to 'cover' something!"

And so – I would now counsel all(!) of you to seek to perhaps-individually assess the one and only thing that actually matters: "how do we satisfy the promises that all of us have collectively made to this customer?"

Because: "he's not going to sign the check ... and, why-the-hell should he?"

Start – and, end – from there. He's got a legally-enforceable position.

  • I can't find the answer in your post. "someone is now trying to 'cover' something" - good, so to catch it, we should use Independent Technical Review Isn't it? It help us to catch this case on any of the levels, right? We even can hire a team of independent technical reviews for each level. – Alexey Strizhak Nov 18 '20 at 4:36
  • So, the Independent External Technical Review may help to: customer to understand how big jawbone is / us to understand how big the rabbit hole is / finally help to improve team and project – Alexey Strizhak Nov 18 '20 at 4:40

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