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5 Types of Code Reviews
and Why They're Important for Your Team

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8 Essential DevOps Tools You Can Try in 2020

8 Essential DevOps Tools You Can Try in 2020

There are tons of DevOps tools out there. There’s always a solution to every problem you and your team face. However, it’s easy to fall into a bit of analysis paralysis with the countless options – leaving you unsure of picking the most effective tools that can bring your developer team and operations team on the same page and improve the software performance, especially when you’re a noob or a beginner that has jumped in software development. In this article, we’ve put together this list of worth-considering DevOps tools you can at least try this year to help your developer team and operations team work together in harmony with ease.

Read More »

By GITENTIAL TEAM

Performing effective code reviews is consistently cited as the number one thing a company can do to improve their code quality, and by extension, product quality.

That’s just one of the findings of SmartBear’s [2019 State of Code Review]. However, there are five different types of code review and an actual, formal standard for conducting them. In today’s world, sometimes even the definition of “is” is called into question. Everyone likely knows what a code review is. But, knowing the different types of code reviews can help in the allocation of resources to maximize their value. This will also help you avoid one of the main reasons why some developers don’t like them.

Code reviews are quality assurance measures conducted to examine a developer’s code in relation to several objectives. The primary aim of code reviews is to find code defects, but also to verify compliance with QA standards as relates to logic, structure, style, and readability. Code reviews are also indispensable to cultivating teamwork, knowledge sharing, finding new solutions, and ultimately increasing code quality. Software developers and engineers consider code reviews as the number one means of improving code quality, followed by unit testing and continuous integration, per SmartBear’s report.

To be useful, code reviews must be conducted by two or more software developers or engineers with relevant expertise about the purpose of the code. The code may relate to any number of complex systems like information security, billing information, transactional data, and others subject to legal standards or requirements. In all cases, at least one code reviewer must be someone who was not involved in writing it.

5 types of code reviews

Engineers and managers regard code reviews without consistent standards, processes and insufficient reporting to be just as problematic as sloppy code. Organizations desiring ready-made code review standards and procedures are in luck! They can turn to The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Standard for Software Reviews and Audits [IEEE 1028-2008].

It defines five types of code reviews:

1. Technical code reviews

Loosely the same as formal inspections or Fagan Inspections. They are led by senior software developers or engineers to review compliance to project specifications. They check for code defects, that it works as intended, and determine if it is ready to advance to the next step. Manager presence is usually optional.

2. Inspections

Despite the name, the IEEE term is generally synonymous with regular change-based reviews as more commonly referenced by software developers. Inspections are led by a facilitator and usually peers (but absent managers). Inspections are used to identify code defects, deviations of standards and specifications; as well as recommend remedial actions.

3. Walkthroughs

Led by the code’s author with other team members (absent managers) to find code defects and identify better solutions to improve the product. Walkthroughs can also be used to train and educate team members about the product.

4. Management reviews

Used by project managers and team leaders to make sure suitable progress is being made and is in conformance with QA standards.

5. Audits

Typically led by an external and independent auditor to evaluate compliance to laws, regulations, standards and guidelines. Audits are conducted by third-parties, so they reside outside the scope of this discussion.

There are a few somewhat less-formal code reviews like “over-the-shoulder reviews” and “sequential email reviews” that may be passed around like a chain letter. These looser formats can be very useful, but typically don’t involve a large amount of resources to support or organize.

Three of the five types of reviews described above are usually conducted without managers present. This underscores that they should not be mixed up with performance reviews. Though still focused on catching code defects and bugs, it’s important for code reviews to be used to provide team members constructive feedback. Effective code reviews help developers improve the product, while also building their knowledge, skills, and team camaraderie.

While adherence to IEEE 1028-2008 is voluntary, it may be required with government contracts and companies with strong International Standards Organization (ISO) programs. By extension, this includes adherence to other international standards-setting bodies like the IEEE, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and regional bodies like the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).

How to handle toxicity problems

Aside from the time and effort involved, toxic behavior during code reviews is one of the most frequently cited reasons why some software developers are reluctant to participate in them. Do you feel toxicity is a problem in your organization? If so, it may be necessary to bring up sensitivity training with your Human Resources manager. Typically, HR is obliged to keep such issues confidential. Your HR team is there to provide a buffer between employees and managers in responding to organizational toxicity. Confronting managers who can sometimes be contributing to the problem can risk prejudice in future performance evaluations and promotion opportunities.

Relation to performance reviews

Additionally, code reviews by themselves should not be used for performance reviews. A consistent pattern by a developer in failing to apply lessons learned from previous code reviews is. But, there can be a big problem if review metrics are themselves used for evaluating promotions and raises. This risks software developers, even engineers, becoming hostile to the code review process. In consequence, they may focus on their own performance metrics instead of taking the lessons that improve the product and their code.

Automate your software development metrics

We’ve already written about the best practices for code reviews, though we’d like to highlight one that you can put to use right away. Tracking the effectiveness of your code reviews leads to happier developers, fewer code defects, and being able to measure the ROI of your code review processes. Gitential makes it possible for you to automatically track critical performance metrics. Check out our demo project or try it out now.
8 Essential DevOps Tools You Can Try in 2020

8 Essential DevOps Tools You Can Try in 2020

There are tons of DevOps tools out there. There’s always a solution to every problem you and your team face. However, it’s easy to fall into a bit of analysis paralysis with the countless options – leaving you unsure of picking the most effective tools that can bring your developer team and operations team on the same page and improve the software performance, especially when you’re a noob or a beginner that has jumped in software development. In this article, we’ve put together this list of worth-considering DevOps tools you can at least try this year to help your developer team and operations team work together in harmony with ease.

Read More »

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