External code review. Why do you need it?

External code review. Why do you need it?

What is a code review?

A code review is a process in software development where one or more programmers examine another’s code to check for errors, bugs, or deviations from the project’s standards. A good code review is not just about finding flaws in the code. It also provides constructive feedback that can be used to make improvements. The main goal of a code review is to improve the quality of your software. It is also designed to improve the quality and maintainability of a company’s codebase.

What is an external code review?

Internal code reviews are conducted by peers within the same organization, typically involving developers who are familiar with the project’s context and have possibly contributed to the codebase themselves. External code reviews, on the other hand, are performed by independent specialists from outside the organization. This external perspective is valuable for its impartiality and can often identify overlooked issues, providing a fresh set of eyes that might catch fundamental errors in the project’s initial concept, design, or implementation that internal reviewers might miss due to familiarity or bias. 

External code review is a process of understanding what the code is trying to do and why it was written the way it was written. Code reviews performed by external specialists make it possible to assess the used technology and written code in terms of efficiency, scalability, usability, costs, and further development. Without the feelings and emotions of an agile team.

Who needs external code review?

Smaller IT startups, without hiring experience, usually have more examples of bad development practices, scalability problems, security issues, and architectural mistakes. Lots of things that in a sprint rhythm of the team are often overlooked. Developers are trying to solve functional tasks and are not concentrating on important issues for the software as a whole. As we can see, not knowing how to hire skillful developers can lead to serious problems. A good technical lead as a reviewer would resolve most of the issues with pull request comments and refusing to accept the code. But it is not always the case. 

Larger Enterprise IT companies, in our experience, are using outsourcing companies to a larger extent for specific development purposes. More mature IT companies are familiar with external code reviews and following good architectural practices and development best practices.

Why do you need external code review?

Reviewers are working together to improve the code quality of the final solution. When internal and external reviewers read the code and share their findings with developers, you’ll be able to do this:

  • Share knowledge inside your team 
  • Increase collaboration inside your team 
  • Meet same coding standards throughout the team  
  • Enhance security levels of your solution with external security audits
  • Find bugs early in development phases

Unit tests are not implemented in your development process ? Or is your team using task branching workflows while using Git? Initiate a code review after all the code has been written and automated tests have been run and passed–but before the code is merged upstream. This ensures the code reviewer’s time is spent checking for things machines miss, and prevents poor coding decisions from polluting the main line of development. Perhaps your development processes are not tuned up or a missing system architect role is hurting your business? 

Setronica has over 25 years of experience in software development and can help you resolve all issues with your software or your team processes. We offer external code reviews to help you understand the current condition of your software. More importantly, we can help you improve the code quality and maintainability of the software in the future. Asking for feedback early and often makes for better code, so don’t be shy about involving others, whenever that may be. Contact me for a free 30-minute video call, and we’ll find the best solution for your team.

FAQ

How does external code review contribute to code maintainability?

External code reviews significantly enhance the maintainability of software by ensuring that the code not only meets current functional requirements but is also written in a way that facilitates future updates and modifications. External reviewers focus on the structure and readability of the code, advocating for best practices such as modular design and clean coding principles. This independent assessment helps to ensure that the codebase remains robust and adaptable, reducing the complexity and cost of future enhancements.

What role do external code reviews play in the agile development process?

In agile development environments, where rapid iterations and frequent updates are common, external code reviews play a vital role in providing a systematic evaluation that complements the fast-paced nature of agile projects. They provide a structured feedback loop at critical milestones, helping to catch and rectify potential issues that could disrupt the continuous deployment cycle. By integrating external reviews periodically, teams can maintain a high level of code quality without compromising the agility and speed of development.

Can external code reviews help in achieving regulatory compliance for software development?

Yes, external code reviews are particularly valuable in projects that need to comply with specific regulatory standards such as GDPR for data protection, HIPAA for healthcare information, or PCI DSS for payment security. External reviewers can provide an objective assessment of whether the software meets the stringent requirements set by these regulations. Their expertise and understanding of the legal aspects of software compliance can guide development teams in implementing necessary changes to ensure regulatory compliance effectively.

Ready to Enrich Your Team?

Kristijan Pušić

IT consultant and Business developer

Our consultant is at your disposal from 9 AM to 5 PM CET working days from Monday to Friday for any additional questions.




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    SETRONICA


    Setronica is a software engineering company that provides a wide range of services, from software products to core business applications. We offer consulting, development, testing, infrastructure support, and cloud management services to enterprises. We apply the knowledge, skills, and Agile methodology of project management to integrate software development and business objectives effectively and efficiently.