Code Reviews – Mandatory but Ad-Hoc?

Code Reviews – Mandatory but Ad-Hoc?

on Mar 18, 10 • by Brendan Harrison • with 4 Comments

The importance of code reviews has already been well covered by lots of smart people like Jack Ganssle and Jason Cohen. Recently, the subject has become more important around here, so we want to offer our take. In particular, we’re looking at the best way(s) to incorporate code reviews into an overall software...

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The importance of code reviews has already been well covered by lots of smart people like Jack Ganssle and Jason Cohen. Recently, the subject has become more important around here, so we want to offer our take. In particular, we’re looking at the best way(s) to incorporate code reviews into an overall software verification strategy and how automated tools (such as static analysis, no shock there) can help unleash the benefits of peer code review. More on that angle another time, first the bigger picture.

Klocwork recently commissioned a survey conducted by Forrester research on this whole topic and the results are pretty interesting. While there’s a whole bunch of data that can’t be covered in a single blog post, a general theme we found is that developers see the value of code reviews, they’re often mandatory, but the process itself seems to be ad-hoc and quite ‘behind the times’. Here’s an example of what I mean:

Code Reviews - Mandatory but Ad-Hoc

So, code reviews are mandatory but you can kinda invite whoever you want to review the code. Shouldn’t who reviews the code be pretty important? (Hint: Yes)

We’re gonna keep talking about different aspects of this important development milestone, so stay tuned and we’d be interested to hear anything you have to say on the topic.

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4 Responses to Code Reviews – Mandatory but Ad-Hoc?

  1. laurance says:

    Hello from England! I have found your domain on alltheweb. Good content! Mary J. Hamilton x

  2. Brendan Harrison says:

    Good points Gregg, thanks for chiming in. The last point about more structure = more resistance is an interesting one… embracing a more unstructured approach with some tool and easy workflow support is an approach many organizations seem to be taking.

  3. Gregg Sporar says:

    “Shouldn’t who reviews the code be pretty important?”

    Yes, but… it’s frequently not that simple. For some teams that we’ve worked with, there are subject matter experts whose inclusion is required but that does not mean they are the *only* members of the team allowed on the review.

    For some teams, only one member of the group of subject matter experts is required and there is flexibility as to which specific member is assigned to any particular review. That provides a way to do a bit of load balancing.

    And then for other teams, they prefer a wide open approach because too much structure will generate resistance to the idea of doing code review at all.

    So there is no one size fits all rule.

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