SpotBugs can build Maven projects that use POM inheritance
SpotBugs builds Maven projects by finding directories containing POM files, and attempting to build each directory individually. This means that more complicated projects that use POM inheritance don't build correctly.
POMs can be complex. There are parent, child and Super (!) POMs.
If possible, SpotBugs should automatically work out the structure of the POM and build the project appropriately (from the parent, I believe).
If it is not possible to determine how to build the project, then an environment variable could be used that helps SpotBugs know which directory to run
mvn clean install
This CI Job shows what happens to a project with a Parent POM. The parent is built, then each child is built individually (which fails, because it doesn't know about the parent).