4 Ways That Code Review Makes Managers Look Good
As a development manager, you already understand how code review improves software quality. But have you thought about how code review can benefit you directly? I can think of four important code review benefits that can reduce your stress levels and increase your visibility in the organization.
Collaboration helps you use time more efficiently
I used to phrase this as “code review saves you time!” However, managers of Agile development teams conveyed frustration with my perspective. Several managers said that trying to add yet another activity to already tight sprints was not viewed as a time saver! Many Agile teams fear that reviewing code is too time-consuming a step to add to their sprints.
Although I hear you and feel your pain, I have a different view. Consider this: If the code you pass over to QA has fewer bugs and anomalies, then it stands to reason that QA cycles will shorten. There are plenty of Agile code review successes that substantiate this reality. Many Agile team managers have found that the time invested in code review is made up during QA.
Code passed to QA that had better code quality (i.e., had been reviewed) decreased QA time. These savvy Agile managers also found that the constant interaction and collaboration about the code provided needed communication among developers regarding existing coding standards, especially important to Agile teams since they often have fewer artifacts to reference when questions arise.
Distributed team members deliver high quality software faster
Bridging the gap between remote and on-premise teams can be tough. The structured collaboration that code review provides helps distributed team members understand what needs to be done and the best ways to do it.
Code reviews help teams build on successes of existing solutions rather than on poor reinventions of them, since colleagues can provide insight into existing standards, which can often speed up the implementation of requirements. Tool-assisted review streamlines this process further by enabling asynchronous code reviews, so time differences are no longer a barrier. Remote team members can peruse review feedback at their convenience.
Metrics can help set expectations and win accolades
By periodically examining metrics, you can measure and trend your software’s quality over time and understand what aspects of the code tend to be the most gnarly. For larger development teams, careful interpretation of metrics provides helpful insight so managers can align resources with anticipated demand spikes (i.e. post-release support and defect remediation.) Metrics also come in handy for managers wanting to streamline ongoing resource planning, including new feature costing and estimation refinement.
Sharing metrics wisely increases transparency around product quality, highlights your team’s collective accomplishments and elevates discussions toward more strategic topics, such as securing competitive advantage with on-time release, reducing the probability of costly recalls, and ensuring long-term stability and maintainability of valuable applications. Metrics also deliver valuable insight into overall quality and maintainability issues.
Knowledge sharing enhances skill levels with minimal expense
The knowledge transfer that results from code review is an unheralded yet significant benefit! Knowledge sharing reduces the risk of gaps in expertise across your team. That mentoring component of senior developer to junior developer is invaluable—it establishes a coaching relationship that gently fosters skill sets across the team. The unexpected gift for managers is even more appealing: Knowledge transfer can reduce your long-term project costs.
That’s right! Collective insight into the code base, coding conventions and standards not only eliminates confusion and mistakes in your imminent release, but it also reduces unanticipated costs that result from catastrophic defects and technical debt arising from future software evolvability issues.
For these reasons code review is truly a strategic activity that all development managers should seriously consider implementing if they haven’t already. Take a closer look at Collaborator and learn how one tool can help you review code and artifacts!