Humane assessment

Assessment is the process of understanding a given situation to support decision making. In software engineering it is a critical activity accounting for as much as 50% of the development costs.

Traditionally, the process of assessment is dominated by either code reading, or by the use of standard reporting tools. However, code reading does not scale, and fully automatic tools are often not useful out-of-the-box because problems tend not to be standard.

Assessment is an inherently human activity. When assessing large data sets or complex software systems, tools are indeed a prerequisite because we need to deal with the sheer size of details, but eventually it is the human that has to understand and take decisions. The assessment process must be centered on humans rather than on tools, and the speaker proposes a new and humane approach trough which custom tools are crafted to meet custom needs.

The message is exemplified using Moose, an extensible software and data analysis platform. The philosophy behind Moose turns the assessment problem around by empowering the analyst to build new tools fast and customize the flow of analysis.

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