I want to talk about peer code review.
The code inspection process was formally brought to light by Michael Fagan in the 1970’s, when he showed that code inspection improves the quality of source code. Code inspection, coupled with rigorous testing / QA, helps to reduce the number of defects in a piece of software before it is released – which is really the cheapest time to find and fix those defects.
Jason Cohen took Fagan’s inspection technique out of the conference room, and helped to bring it online. After a study at Cisco Systems, he found (among other things) that light-weight code reviews were just as (or more) effective as Fagan inspections, and took less time.
There are a myriad of light-weight peer code review tools available now. Code review has become more of a common software development practice.*
That’s really great. But how can we make it better? Here are some research project proposals…
- Research Proposal #1: The Effects of Author Preparation in Peer Code Review
- Research Proposal #2: The Effects of Explicit Reward and Achievement on the Code Review Process [Coming Soon]
- [Watch this space…]
*For more information on code review, I’ve written ad nauseum about it…