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Top mistakes your dev team makes when performing code reviews

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Code reviews are an essential part of any software development process and are crucial for improving code quality. However, despite their importance, code reviews can also be a source of frustration and confusion for your development team, which can cause them to make mistakes.

Today we’ll look at some common mistakes your team might make when performing code reviews. If you know the pitfalls, it’s easier to correct them. So let’s dive in!

Focusing only on code syntax and ignoring design and architecture

When reviewing code, it’s easy to get caught up in the small details and focus only on code syntax. But your team needs to remember that code syntax is just one piece of the puzzle. It’s also important to consider the overall design and architecture of the codebase.

Your development team should consider how the code fits into the bigger picture and answer questions like: Is the code maintainable? Is it easy to understand? Does it follow best practices? Are there any potential scalability issues?

By taking a step back and looking at the code from a higher-level perspective, your team will be able to identify issues that may not be immediately apparent and ensure that the code is of high quality and easy to maintain. This will save you and your team time and effort in the long run and help you create a robust and maintainable system.

Not considering the impact of changes on the rest of the codebase

Changes to one part of the codebase can have ripple effects throughout the entire system. Your team should think about how the proposed changes will affect other parts of the system. Will they introduce new bugs? Will they create compatibility issues? Are there any potential side effects they should be aware of?

By considering the broader impact of changes, your team will be able to identify potential issues early on and prevent them from becoming bigger problems down the line. Being mindful of the overall impact of the changes will lead to a better end product.

Not providing clear and actionable feedback

Code reviews are a collaborative process, and developers should provide clear and actionable feedback on the code they are reviewing. Vague and not actionable feedback is not helpful and can lead to frustration and delays in the development process.

When providing feedback, your team needs to make sure they’re specific and explain why they’re suggesting or pointing out a particular issue. Constructive feedback will help the code’s author understand the reviewer’s perspective, make the necessary changes, and improve their skills.

Code reviews are a fantastic opportunity for learning and growth. So your team shouldn’t be afraid to speak up and share their thoughts and ideas in a respectful and friendly way. They should also ask questions if there is something they don’t understand since it will help to clarify any confusion and ensure a high-quality codebase.

Approving Pull Requests without fully understanding the code changes

Approving Pull Requests without completely understanding them can lead to bugs and other issues in the codebase. As such, your team needs to understand the code changes and the reasoning behind them thoroughly, and they must ask questions if there’s something they need help understanding. It’s also a good idea to test the code to ensure it’s working as intended and that the changes haven’t introduced any new bugs.

As we have seen before, code reviews should be collaborative, and your team needs to work together. By taking the time to fully understand the code changes before approving a PR, they’ll be able to ensure that the code is of high quality and functions as planned, and they’ll be helping the code author improve their skills.

Not properly testing the code before and after the review

Proper testing is an integral part of the code review process. Your team should test the code before and after the review. This can help to identify issues early on and reduce the risk of introducing bugs later.

Before the review, the author should test the code to the best of their abilities and make sure that it’s working as planned. During the review, it’s helpful for the reviewer to test the code as well, to get a sense of how it behaves and to identify any issues that may not be immediately evident. After the review, it’s a good practice to test the code again to guarantee that the changes made during the review have not introduced any new bugs.

Not taking into account performance and scalability issues

Your team needs to think about how the code will perform under different conditions. Will it be able to handle a large number of users or a high volume of data? Are there any potential bottlenecks that could slow down the system? Are there any optimization opportunities?

By taking the time to consider performance and scalability during the review process, your team will be able to identify potential issues early on and prevent them from becoming more significant problems down the line.

Not paying attention to security vulnerabilities or compliance issues

When reviewing code, your team needs to consider how the codebase handles sensitive data and whether it follows industry standards and regulations. Are there any potential vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit? Are there any compliance issues that the team needs to address?

Keeping security and compliance in mind during the code review process will ensure that the code follows best practices and regulations. This will help you create a secure and compliant system, allowing you to achieve the certifications you might need in your industry.

Not following (or not having) a code review process

Your team should follow an established code review process when performing the reviews. This will help guarantee that the review is consistent and that everyone is on the same page. 

It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the code review tool your team uses to make the process as smooth as possible. Codacy Quality allows you to speed up code reviews, check code quality, and track your technical debt. Start a free 14-day trial today!

Not giving credit and not praising well-written code

When your team is reviewing code, they need to credit the code’s author for their work. If a piece of code is exceptionally well-written or solves a complex problem, they should acknowledge it and give the author credit for their efforts.

Giving credit and praising well-written code helps to boost morale and motivation among team members, making them feel valued and recognized for their work. This can, in turn, positively impact their productivity and satisfaction in the workplace.

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Join our Engineering Manager Kendrick Curtis and our Lead Account Executive Mark Raihlin in a discussion about helping your team perform their best code reviews.

Webinar - Level Up Your Team’s Code Reviews

Join us in our Webinar Level Up Your Team’s Code Reviews. See you there!

👉 When: February 2nd, 2023, 4 pm UTC / 10 am CDT
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