The Pros and Cons of Four Kinds of Code Reviews

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of requirements, you'll have the benefits of email pass-around reviews (works with multiple, possibly-remote developers, minimizes interruptions) but without the problems of no workflow enforcement, no metrics, and wasting time with file/difference packaging, delivery, and inspection.

It's impossible to give a proper list of pros and cons for tool-assisted reviews because it depends on the tool's features. But if the tool satisfies all the requirements above, it should be able to combat all the "cons" above.

So what do I do?
All of the techniques above are useful and will result in better code than you would otherwise have. All of our experience with peer code review has been poured into articles and books and Code Collaborator — software for tool-assisted code reviews.

We have data that simultaneously shows how to maximize peer review effectiveness while minimizing amount of time spent doing it. This is the subject of our next article.

About the author

Jason Cohen's picture Jason Cohen

Jason Cohen is the author of Best Kept Secrets of Peer Code Review, the definitive work on the new process of Lightweight peer review with 7,000 copies in circulation. Jason conducted and published the largest case study of peer code review at Cisco Systems®—2,500 reviews over 10 months with a real, delivered product. Jason is also the founder of Smart Bear Inc., makers of Code Collaborator that assists developers and managers with lightweight peer code review processes. Jason has spoken at many conferences, trade shows, and ACM/IEEE society meetings across the country.

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