8 Tips To Make Code Reviews Less Painful

Code reviews are a vital part of the software development process, but can also hamper teams in getting work done. Follow these tips for productive code reviews.
8 Tips To Make Code Reviews Less Painful

Code reviews helps ensure that code is well-written, efficient, and meets certain requirements of a project. However, the process of code reviews can be tedious and time-consuming, leading to frustration for both the reviewer and the developer. It's important to make code reviews less painful to ensure that they are productive and valuable for all parties involved.

In this article, we'll provide eight tips for making code reviews less painful, including setting clear expectations, using a code review tool, being constructive, and recognizing good work. In this article, we will discuss eight tips to make code reviews less painful.

[Read more: Painful code reviews killing developer productivity]

1. Set Clear Expectations

The first step in making code reviews less painful is to set clear expectations. Providing a style guide that outlines formatting and commenting requirements for the code, and communicates the expected timeline for reviews, helps and ensures that the developer knows what he/she is expected to do during the code review process. This includes guidelines for formatting, commenting, and testing. You should also communicate the review process to developers, including how long reviews should take, and who will be reviewing the code.

code review practices

From the image attached above, communication with clear expectations ensures:

  • The code should follow the JSDoc style guide for comments.
  • All functions should have a comment explaining their purpose.

2. Use a Code Review Tool

Using a code review tool can help streamline the process and make it more efficient. Platforms such as Github, Bitbucket, and GitLab, offers feature/tools that are readily available. These tools provide a centralized location for code reviews, allowing developers to collaborate and comment on each other's code, facilitate collaboration, and streamline the review process.

Use static analysis tools for faster feedback, and a strengthened codebase. 

3. Don't Make it Personal

Code reviews should be focused on the code, not the developer. Avoid using personal language or criticizing the developer's abilities. Instead, focus on specific issues with the code and suggest improvements. Code reviews should be conducted in a positive and collaborative environment. You can start by praising the code for its good aspects, and then provide constructive feedback on areas that need improvement.

4. Be Constructive

When making suggestions for improvement, be constructive. Instead of simply pointing out issues, suggest ways to fix them. This will help developers learn and improve their skills. Also, never fail to encourage team members to discuss the code and share their ideas and feedback. This can help foster a sense of teamwork and improve the overall quality of the code.

5. Prioritize Issues

Not all issues in the code are equally important. Prioritize issues based on their severity and impact on the project. This will help developers focus on the most critical issues first.

6. Keep it Brief

Code reviews can be time-consuming, so it's important to keep them brief. Focus on the most critical issues and avoid nitpicking minor details. This will help developers stay focused and avoid burnout. Don't let code reviews drag on for too long. Keep them short and sweet, focusing on the most important issues, and avoiding getting bogged down in minor details.

7. Ensure Timeliness

Timeliness is key in code reviews. Don't let code reviews drag on for too long, as this can lead to frustration and delays in the project. Set deadlines for reviews and stick to them.

8. Recognize Good Work

Finally, it's important to recognize good work. When developers write high-quality code, acknowledge it and praise them for their efforts. This will help build morale and encourage developers to continue writing excellent code. Celebrate when a code review is completed successfully, as this can help create a positive atmosphere and motivate team members to continue participating actively in the code review process.

In conclusion, code reviews are a necessary part of software development, but they don't have to be painful. By setting clear expectations, using a code review tool, avoiding personal language, being constructive, prioritizing issues, keeping it brief, being timely, and recognizing good work, you can make code reviews a positive and productive experience.

An engineering analytics platform can empower engineering teams with effective code reviews, developer productivity, and boost overall engineering effectiveness.

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Table of Contents
  • 1. Set Clear Expectations
  • 2. Use a Code Review Tool
  • 3. Don't Make it Personal
  • 4. Be Constructive
  • 5. Prioritize Issues
  • 6. Keep it Brief
  • 7. Ensure Timeliness
  • 8. Recognize Good Work

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