A good peer review strategy for code review necessitates a balance of well-documented protocols and a welcoming, collaborative atmosphere. Peer reviews that are overly rigid might hinder productivity, while haphazard approaches are frequently useless. Managers must find a happy medium where peer review may be fast and productive while also encouraging open dialogue and information sharing among peers.
Here are some pointers to help you conduct a successful peer code review
Please take your time. Inspection rates should be kept at less than 500 LOC per hour.
It’s tempting to rip through a review, hoping that someone else will detect the mistakes you miss. However, Smart Bear research shows that at rates quicker than 500 LOC per hour, fault density drops significantly. The most effective code review is one that is done in a reasonable quantity and at a slower speed for a limited length of time.
Set objectives and track your progress
Your team should decide how to gauge the effectiveness of peer review and set a few concrete goals before launching a procedure.
Begin with external metrics, using SMART criteria. “Reduce support calls by 15%,” for example, or “halve the percentage of problems injected by development.” This data should provide you with a quantitative view of how your code is progressing. The goal of “fixing more bugs” is ineffective.
It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on internal process measurements, such as:
- The rate at which a review is completed is referred to as the inspection rate.
- The number of flaws discovered per hour of review is known as the defect rate.
- The average number of errors identified per line of code is called defect density.
Only automated or well-regulated processes can produce repeatable metrics. A metrics-driven code review tool automatically collects data, ensuring that your data is accurate and free of human bias. To gain a better understanding of how to do an efficient code review.
Make use of checklists
It’s extremely possible that each member of your team makes the same ten errors again after a time. Because it’s tough to examine something that isn’t there, omissions are the most difficult flaws to uncover. Checklists are the most effective technique to avoid common mistakes and overcome the obstacles of omission detection. Code review checklists also set clear expectations for team members for each sort of review, and they can be useful to track for reporting and process development.
At a time, review no more than 400 lines of code.
Developers should evaluate no more than 200 to 400 lines of code (LOC) at a time, according to a Smart Bear study of a Cisco Systems development team. The brain can only handle so much information at once; around 400 LOC, the ability to discover flaws begins to wane.
In practice, a 60–90-minute evaluation of 200-400 LOC should give 70-90 percent problem finding. So, if the code had ten faults, a thorough examination would uncover between seven and nine of them.
Establish a procedure for correcting any problems that are discovered
Even after time-boxing reviews, restricting LOC reviewed per hour, and defining critical metrics for your team, there’s still one step lacking in the code review process. What will be done about the bugs? Many teams don’t have a systematic procedure for correcting the defects they’ve worked so hard to identify, even though it seems obvious.
Using a collaborative code review platform that allows reviewers to log errors, debate them with the author, and approve modifications in the code is the best approach to ensure that defects are repaired. Because issues discovered during the review are discovered before code is delivered to QA, they are unlikely to be reported in the team’s typical defect tracking system without the assistance of an automated tool.
Encourage a good code review environment
Interpersonal team ties may be strained as a result of peer evaluation. Having every piece of work assessed by peers and management analysing and quantifying flaw density in your code is difficult. As a result, for peer code review to be successful, managers must foster a culture of collaboration and learn throughout the peer-review process.
While it’s tempting to dismiss faults as solely negative, each problem represents an opportunity for the team to improve the quality of their code. Peer review also allows junior team members to learn from senior leaders while also allowing even the most seasoned programmers to break harmful behaviours.
Defects discovered through peer review are not a valid criterion for judging team members. Peer code review reports should never be included in performance reports. Developers will grow antagonistic to the process if personal metrics are used as a foundation for salary or advancement.
Lightweight code reviews should be practiced
There are various techniques to collaboratively review code, including email, over-the-shoulder, Microsoft Word, tool-assisted, and hybrids of all forms. However, a lightweight, tool-assisted method is recommended to fully optimize your team’s time and effectively measure its effects.
Lightweight code review consumes less than 20% of the time of formal reviews and finds just as many issues, according to a Cisco Systems Smart Bear study. The average time for a formal, or heavyweight, inspection is nine hours every 200 LOC. This strict procedure, while frequently efficient, necessitates up to six people and hours of sessions spent poring through comprehensive code printouts.
I am confident that, when done right, code reviews can improve your codebase and foster a culture of learning and respect.
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