Understanding the Code Review Process

Code Review is an integral process of software development that helps identify bugs and defects before the testing phase. Code review is often overlooked as an ongoing practice during the development phase, but countless studies show it's the most effective quality assurance strategy. Meetings end up taking more time than intentionally planned. Not having a set process in place means you don't actually know if your code reviews are effective or are even happening.

Regardless if it is your first or 500th time doing a code review, there may be certain questions that you need  some advising on. Instead of searching through Google for a checklist or a guide, we've decided to create one for you! Collaborator, a peer code review tool, has set out to make the Code Review process easier, with these simple 12 steps to follow. Which of these best practices is your team already doing regularly? 


Set Early Expectations

With The Developer About Annotating Their Source Code Before The Review

By having the authors carefully read through and annotate their own code, prior to giving it to their team for review, fewer defects were found.


Determine Quantifiable Goals

Prior To Code Review For Increased Accountability

By creating transparent goals, you increase the accountability of each member of your team. It's best to start with external metrics instead of something vague such as fixing more bugs.


Have A System To Capture Metrics

So You Can Improve Your Processes

Quantifiable Metrics allows you to judge how effective and efficient the code review process is for your team.


Plan Enough Time

For A Proper, Slow Review But Not More Than 60-90 Minutes

After roughly 60 minutes, reviewers simply wear out and stop finding additional defects.


Peer Review Documents

So Your Whole Team is Aligned on Project Objectives

Conducting reviews on development artifacts like requirements, user stories, and design documents is a good way to ensure that your whole team understands the end goals of a project.


Take 20 Minutes Breaks

In Between Review Sessions

Don't overwhelm yourself, it is best to inspect less than 300-500 lines of code per hour.


Verify That Defects Are Actually Fixed,

Not Just Found

Thoroughly follow up with your defect-hunting. If it's not corrected, it's not truly "fixed".


Use Code Review As A Team Building Activity

Remember, Finding Defects Before Launch Is The Point!

It is up to the manager to foster a positive attitude about finding defects. Code reviews offer an opportunity for all team members to correct bad habits learn new tricks, and expand capabilities.


Don't Be A Back Seat Coder

Your team works hard at programming; don't make it harder by constantly watching them code and their every move during the process.


Do A Certain Amount Of Code Review Each Day

Even If It's Not Every Line

A developer will be more conscientious of their own code before code-complete is declared it's known a team of developers will be reviewing the code daily.


Use A Code Review Tool

For Even Greater Efficiency and Accuracy

To fully optimize the time your team spends on code reviews, a code review tool is recommended.


Use Checklists

To Substantially Improve Results For Both Authors And Reviewers

Using a checklist like this one will remind the reviewer as well as the author to take the time to look for something that might be missing during the code review as well as helping to improve their personal coding skills.

Read "The 2020 State of Code Review"