International Project Management Day




Code Review Guidelines


Quick Summary
Screenshot Example of Code Review Guidelines, providing a look at the whole landscape of a good code review process, along with detailed checklists and forms for capturing what's found in the reviews.


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What this is

Example of a company guideline for how to conduct formal software code reviews. It includes the following contents:

  • Code review process overview
  • Instructions for code preparation prior to a code review
  • Code review checklist
  • Code review records forms


Why it's useful

A good review requires more than just a good meeting! Good code reviews that catch mistakes and communicate critical changes require preparation, appropriate off-line review, and good records. This example of Code Review Guidelines from a medical device development company coding in C provide an excellent look at the whole landscape of a good code review process, along with detailed checklists and forms for capturing what's found in the reviews.

This particular company created medical devices and coded the embedded software in C. Their development process had to be stringent enough to ensure that "safety-significant" errors were caught during reviews and testing. They also had to be able to show regulatory agencies at any time that their project followed a process that reviewed designs for problems (especially those that could cause a danger of harm to a patient on whom the device was being used), recorded those problems, then fixed the problems. This code review process was part of their documented development process.

Note, however, that such a code review guideline is useful for other types of software products as well! Any software group wanting to improve the quality of their code and the actual reviews can benefit from elements of this process. The payoff will be finding more problems sooner rather than later- on paper rather than during testing or beyond.


How to use it

During a project, such a document is used by team members in the following way:

  • During project planning, it is referenced for reminders about how much review time should be allocated during the project for the software being developed - including time from all the people who will need to participate in the review.
  • During design and development (coding) portion of the project, the checklists and code review records forms are used to conduct code reviews.
Use this guideline for a ready-made format for your own code reviews. Or, use it simply for approaches you can use to:
  • include review tasks in your projects to ensure mistakes are caught early, rather than later during testing (or after release to customers!) when they'll be much more costly to correct.
  • document, if you wish, a formal code review process that's appropriate for your organization.
Even if you decide to use a less formal approach than these guidelines call for, elements of this document may be very useful for your projects.


This template requires a Premium Subscription
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