Better to have code reviews than to lose money in your software development company
If you think that code review is expensive and time-consuming, then think again about what would happen if you delivered a final product with bugs to your client. Have you read the How to improve communication with clients in a software company article? Go through it to persuade yourself that unhappy clients means a lower ranking of the company, less clients as a result, money loss and even worse consequences that I would not like to talk about.
Put your software development company success on a scale with a long-term period on one side and time and effort on code reviews on the other side. Would you wear the “burden” of regular code reviews to save the image of your company?I guess yes. This is because a code review is critical as it makes it possible to identify poor code in a timely manner so that you can work to improve it before the software product is delivered to the client.
Advantages of Code review for a software development team
If you still think that code reviews are unreasonable then I will try to convince you to the contrary through listing the advantages of a code review. Note that if you read this list carefully you will see that the positive result of code reviews will not be strictly connected to a client’s product being properly developed at the end of a project cycle. Code reviews will also add value to the whole software development company because:
- An upcoming code review means motivated developers- the idea of code review in a software development team is generally represented through a developer who writes the code on the one hand and a developer who reviews the code on the other hand. Establishing the code review approach in a software development company means that developers are aware at any time that there is an upcoming code review which motivates them to do their best to write proper code (when it is about the code writer) and at the same time to do their best to check in details the code written and find errors of code to improve (when it is about the code reviewer). The motivation of each developer to succeed in their task- code writing and code review- will lead to an improvement of their skills because they will learn new things permanently while trying to finish their task in the best way
- Code review is important to equalise developer skills in a cross-functional software development team- common for Scrum is so called cross-functional team, i.e. all developers are almost equally capable to do all tasks to complete a Sprint but each developer still has a specific focus. The code review approach would only support the process of equalizing software development team member's skills and making them replaceable and interchangeable because through code reviews developers have the opportunity to discuss, learn from each other and exchange experience and knowledge
- Junior developers get into the work easier and faster. When new members, especially juniors get into the development team, for sure their work will be reviewed. They will be advised by seniors about the mistakes they make during code writing. In this way they will be educated on the fly, they will learn from mistakes and they will easily flow into the team, following the common working approach and practices.
Permanent skill improvement is very important for every software development company, especially in a Scrum team where each developer needs to be able to complete any task, so that the teamwork will not be delayed and will be completed beyond the agreed Sprint. The skill matrix per developer needs to be checked regularly and updated accordingly and the code review is just one approach that may add value to the developers’ permanent education without spending huge additional resources on that.
Don’t turn code review advantages into disadvantages
A Scrum teams does not consider an error/bug defined during a code review as something negative. If your team does, then you need to check whether you are Scrum or rather Scrumbut through filling our questionnaire. Finding a bug is actually an opportunity for developers to improve their knowledge, skills and the code quality as a whole, by learning from mistakes to get more experienced.Therefore a crucial point in the code review process for you as a PM or a company owner is to create an environment of collaboration and make efforts to prevent tension between team members by making clear for everybody that a code review is not a kind of critique between developers but a way to become more competitive as a software company on the market.
Another good point you need to consider very carefully- never use code reviews and the defined errors as a result of the review to evaluate a developer’s performance. Nor should this be used to praise, compensate, promote, lower a position, etc. This would create a hostile working environment and rivalry among software development team members.Avoid turning the bugs identification and their fix into a clutter. Instead of this, use the opportunity to research and discuss with your team what would be the most suitable bug tracking tool that would best support the software development team during the process of bug logging, discussion with the developer, bug fixing, fix approval, etc. Making efforts in this direction will improve and regulate the bug fixing process as an integral part of the overall software development process. Regulation of bug fixing process will contribute to faster delivery and higher quality of the final product.
Do you still believe that code reviews are a kind of luxury for your software development company that requires too many resources in the form of time and money? If no, then you can just select the code review approach that would best fit your software development team and their needs.
Consider different code review practices in your software development process
Organize a meeting with your software development team and discuss which code review approach among all types will help them rather than delay their work. Select among the more time consuming and detailed formal code review and the lightweight code review type that requires less efforts but if done properly would be equally effective. It could be in the form of:
- Over-the-shoulder review- the code reviewer stands over the code author shoulder while he is creating the code on his workstation
- E-mail pass-around review- coding files and changes are packed up by the author and sent to reviewers for examination via e-mail which will lead eventually to asking questions and discussions between the author and reviewers
- Tool assisted review- software tools would ease the software development process in any software development company as mentioned above because they are created by developers for developers
- Pair- programming- two developers write code on a single workstation with one developer writing code at a time while permanent discussions with the other developer are on.
Always think from a client’s point of view and do anything possible to implement their requirements in the best way. The only purpose of this exercise is to have happy clients who will spread the word about how genius you are and eventually have more clients.
The quality of the product that you create during a software development process would be the only criterion by which the client will judge your software development team.
So can you think of a better way to ensure high quality than code reviews conducted during the software development process, defining and fixing the bugs in a timely manner?
How often do you review your code?
How do code reviews benefit or hamper the work of the software development team?
What code review type do you use in your company?