Sunday, July 27, 2008

Code Reviews - objections and counter-objections

[This was originally posted at]

It's a good thing to have another person review the production code that a developer writes. Two heads are better than one. Code Reviews offer many benefits, especially catching bugs when they're cheaper to fix and sharing knowledge across the team. However, some people still have a lot of resistance to code reviews. Here are some common objections to code reviews, and problems with those objections.


Reason to not do a code reviewProblem with that reason
It's my code, I don't want anyone messing with my code.Technically, it's not your code - it's your company's code. They're paying for it.
I don't have time.Code reviews aren't about wasting time discussing pointless trivia, they're about saving time by double-checking the code upfront, where bugs are much cheaper to fix than once those bugs have propagated all the way to production.
My code isn't ready yet to be reviewed.Some devs want to first write a 2-month feature, have it work perfectly, and then essentially have a quick code-review meeting that rubber-stamps their amazing feature. But what good is a 15 minute review after two months of work? How often should you do code reviews? It should be frequent enough such that there's still time to act on it.
I'm a senior dev, I don't need to have some junior dev telling me what to do.There are good reasons for a junior dev to review a senior dev's code, such as helping that junior dev to learn, which in turn benefits the whole team.
My code will already work (I tested it myself) - it doesn't need a code review.This just isn't probable. We humans are fallible creatures, and even the best of us makes mistakes. Even if a developer's code is functionally perfect, maybe it can still be improved by refactoring, or using better coding tips or team-build components. And if the code is truly perfect in a way that it cannot be improved, it would be great for other developers to review it such that they learn from it.
My code is too complicated to explain in a code review.If the code is truly too complicated, that's exactly why it should be reviewed - such that other team members can see how to make it simpler, or at least start understanding it so that other people are prepared to maintain it when you cannot.



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