The 2018 State of Code Review

We asked 1100 developers about their code review process. Read how teams across 35 industries are collaborating on their code.
  July 26, 2018

We recently published this year’s edition of “The State of Code Review: Trends and Insights into Collaborative Development”, a report that has benchmarked trends and techniques in software development for the last 5 years. From February to April of this year, SmartBear surveyed software professionals asking for information on their team’s review processes, tool usage, and adoption of development trends. Here are some highlights:

Key Findings

Code Review is the #1 Way to Improve Code Quality

For the 3rd straight year, respondents identified code review as the #1 way to improve code quality, receiving nearly a fourth of the vote out of 10 presented options. This year’s analysis included a new component, satisfaction with one’s code review process. The correlation between code review satisfaction and code quality satisfaction was stronger than any other factor or behavior.

By cross-referencing development practices with code review satisfaction, this year’s analysis identified 7 actionable insights for teams and organizations to improve their process. One of these insights focuses on the impact of repository management tools. Surprisingly, regardless of if a team is using GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket, or no tool at all, there is no significant difference in code review satisfaction.

So what does make a difference? And specifcally, what practices should your team adopt to make your code reviews work for you?

In the last section of our report, we outline 7 data-driven code review best practices. By looking at teams who are most satisfied with their code review process and overall code quality, we found that behavior frequency, approach-type, and reporting all surfaced as important factors for teams with a satisfactory code review process.

To see how each impacts code review satisfaction and what practices your team should enact, you can download and read our full 30-page report here:

Read the 2018 State of Code Review Report

One of our recommendations is to, at least in some part, adopt a tool-based code review process. Teams using a dedicated code review tool are significantly more satisfied with their process and their code. If your team is searching for a tool that can scale with your growing team and standardize a process that fits you, check out Collaborator, SmartBear's peer code and document review tool. You can get started with a free trial.