Why do Code Reviews?

Interestingly enough, this question came up in a conversation related to a recent event: severe bug escaped into the wild causing embarrassing data loss. The bug was a regression that was introduced and not noticed during a code review. Regression suite failed to catch it as well. Naturally, we were trying to understand what we can do better. One of the questions was related to code reviews: could a more thorough review have prevented this?

To our surprise, we discovered that not everybody agrees on goals of a code review as well as on his/her right and responsibilities as a code reviewer.

So, I came up with these code review goals that are now posted in our office:


  • Maintainability and best practices/coding guidelines
  • DRY, Design patterns, Readability, Testability
  • Test coverage
    • Very important for both new features and bugs
    • Evaluate exposure to missing tests
    • Tests should highlight edge cases + happy paths


  • Be able to take over the ownership
  • Understand requirements, context, and code

Help the author become better

  • Suggest alternative approaches, defend your decisions

Sign-off = Your Reputation on the Line


One comment

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