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Busting The Top 10 Myths About Code Reviews | Pullflow Blog

Busting The Top 10 Myths About Code Reviews

Should you fear the code review process or embrace it as a learning opportunity? Explore the truth behind these common misconceptions and discover the hidden benefits of this collaborative process.

Rabia Ahmed
Rabia Ahmed - Mon May 01 2023
Busting The Top 10 Myths About Code Reviews

Your brilliant commits are ready for the world. The only thing left is a quick code review. Push the branch. Create a pull request (PR) and wait for the praise to follow.

Hours go by. No applause. Fine! You start working on your next master-piece. You finally find your flow and BAM! The long-awaited review is in. Changes requested, plus a dozen comments!

“Why must we play these games? Just let me code.” – A disrupted programmer

Sounds familiar? Now, before we open the “what’s the point of code reviews” debate again, let’s take a moment to explore and debunk the Top 10 myths surrounding code reviews.

1. Code reviews are bug hunting season

Code reviews aren’t just about chasing down bugs like we’re playing a round of “Whack-a-Bug.” Sure, bugs get squashed, but we also check if the code is wearing its Sunday best. Is it following the dress code (coding conventions)? Is it trying to do the moonwalk when it should be waltzing (following the right patterns)?

Practical tip: Make sure code reviews look at overall quality, not just the pesky bugs.

2. Code reviews are the corporate trust fall exercise

If you think code reviews mean your colleagues are ready to pounce on your every mistake, it’s time to adjust your goggles. We’re not running a detective agency here, we’re building cool stuff together!

Practical tip: Foster a positive culture around code reviews where everyone knows it’s about improving the code, not questioning one’s coding abilities.

3. Only coding Yodas should review code

There’s no need to be a Jedi Master to review code. Even the coding Padawans bring fresh perspectives. Besides, who said the Yodas don’t have anything to learn?

Practical tip: Involve everyone in the code review process, it’s a two-way learning street.

4. The reviewer’s job is to play the tough cop

If you think code reviews are all about finding mistakes, then you’re watching too many cop dramas. Good reviews also catch those “aha” moments in the code.

Practical tip: Make it a point to appreciate good code practices as much as suggesting improvements.

5. Code reviews take forever and a day

Yes, they do take time, but think of them as an investment, like coding retirement funds. They save you from code-debt later on.

Practical tip: Incorporate code reviews into your regular work flow, it can save the team from future “code bankruptcy”.

6. The best code reviews are those with radio silence

If your goal is a quiet review, you’re at the wrong concert. Code reviews should be like a great jam session, lots of improvisation and collaboration.

Practical tip: Encourage open dialogue during reviews and make sure to address any points of confusion.

7. We have automated tests, who needs code reviews?

Automated tests are great, but they don’t know if your code reads like an abstract novel. They may catch the “whoopsies”, but not the “what on earth?“.

Practical tip: Use both automated tests and human reviews to ensure your code is both functional and human-friendly.

8. Code reviews should be done when the final semicolon is in place

If you’re saving code reviews for the grand finale, you might be in for a “Syntax Error: Unexpected Token” surprise. Dealing with code reviews in smaller chunks makes the process feel less like untangling a spaghetti code monster and more like neatly organizing Lego blocks.

Practical tip: Practice incremental code reviews to keep your code clean, manageable, and as smooth as a well-documented function.

9. Code reviews are all about textbook best practices

Some believe that code reviews are just about ticking off boxes on a “best practices” checklist. Reality check: They’re not just about adhering to the script like a character in a sitcom. Code reviews are more like reality TV—they capture and share the unique institutional knowledge and internal best practices of your team.

Practical tip: When reviewing, don’t just look for what’s in the textbooks, look for what works best for your team.

10. Code reviews chain you to your desk

There’s a rumor floating around that if you write a piece of code, you’re bound to it, kind of like a “Till bugs do us part” vow. But guess what? Code reviews are like your ticket to the Bahamas. Since everyone’s familiar with your code, you can sip that pina colada worry-free, knowing your teammates can cover for you.

Practical tip: Foster collective code ownership through reviews, so you can enjoy your vacations fully.

It’s A Multiplayer Game

A code review isn’t a 1v1 fight in a video game between the author and the review. It’s more like a cooperative multiplayer game where everyone’s working together to level up the code! Think of your development team as players in a cooperative multiplayer game, where your project is the quest and bugs are the adversaries.

  1. Sharing the Loot: In multiplayer games, everyone benefits when loot is shared. Similarly, in code reviews, knowledge is the loot. When you discover a smart solution or an efficient algorithm, it’s shared with your team. This shared understanding strengthens the team and makes future quests (projects) easier.

  2. Diverse Skill Sets: Just like in multiplayer games, where you need a mix of warriors, mages, and archers, a development team also thrives on diversity. Junior developers might spot something seniors overlook, while seniors can offer guidance based on their experience. Code reviews let everyone contribute their unique skills.

  3. Learning New Tactics: Just as watching a teammate execute a perfect power move can help you improve your game, observing how your peers solve coding challenges can teach you new techniques and approaches.

  4. Teamwork and Strategy: In multiplayer games, you often need to coordinate strategies and work together to defeat a tough boss. Similarly, complex coding problems can require team-wide brainstorming and cooperation. Code reviews provide a space for this collaborative problem solving.

  5. Covering for Each Other: If your character is down, a team member can revive you in the game. The same applies to code reviews. When you’re out of office, your team, who’s familiar with your code, can cover for you. You get to enjoy your break while the quest continues smoothly.

So, remember, code reviews aren’t about pointing out who missed a shot or took a wrong step. They’re about learning, growing, and winning together as a team, just like in the best cooperative multiplayer games. And as a bonus, you level up your skills and become a better developer (or gamer) for the next round! 🎮 🎉

Level Up and Win

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