Making the case for code review
April 20, 2010 —
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Related Search Term(s): code review
Forrester recommended that code review should be made a formal part of the development process. If the organization is doing agile development, code review should occur as part of the “done” criteria for a story, the report said.
In waterfall development, a build should not be considered finished until code is reviewed. “By making code reviews a milestone, it’s possible to report on the status of the milestone. This helps ensure that code review, although a very technical activity, has the same level of visibility of other activities in the process,” the report stated.
The report then urged development shops to put any issues found with the code into the backlog, so they are treated as any other bug—assigned as tasks to specific developers and monitored by management.
Code reviews and their results often don’t match up to organizational structures, with about 70% of respondents saying that QA is not represented in the review process, and 55% saying that the software architect is also not involved.
Yet Smart Bear’s Sporar said it’s more important to have reviews done by the right people at the appropriate point of the project’s development. “Which artifacts are you creating in addition to the code, and who is reviewing those? Are you doing unit tests? Who’s reviewing those, the subject matter experts?”
Klocwork’s Fisher sees the review becoming more use-case oriented when more people are brought in. “The number of stakeholders is so much greater outside the chain of command…so you get more ‘Did you think of X?’ ‘Are we delivering on that?’ ”
Social-media tools make it easier to bring in these additional stakeholders, and they are helping to advance code review, even if it’s just informally for now. “Code review traditionally had five guys around a table. Now, you put it out there and see what happens. Chances are someone will be watching,” Fisher said.
Social tools, he added, “form engagements in a more democratized way, rather than specifically saying, ‘You’re invited to a review.’ This brings code review to the people.”