Code Reviews by Management Fiat

I’ve been kicking around just how to go about implementing code reviews on my development teams for a month or two now. Despite my vast experience, OK only about 10 years or so, I never worked for an organization that practiced code reviews. I have done a few code walk-throughs myself to present some finished project to client development staff, but that’s about the extent of it.

So in collecting whatever information I could over the web and now having talked to several development managers who actually have some code review experience it appears that the consensus is you have to mandate them. I pretty much knew that since developer’s don’t naturally see the value in code reviews and they can often go wrong in so many ways:

  • Nit picky tech leads who insist on minute changes.
  • Harsh presentations where the developer is told over and over what they did wrong.
  • Mind numbing code review meetings where everyone tries not to fall asleep.

So starting next week I’ll be mandating that all of my teams conduct code reviews. This goes against my basic personality of managing by consensus, but the benefits done right outweigh the discomfort of the situation. And if it goes horribly wrong we can always toss them out and try again later.