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The Ultimate Code Review Blog Post Series

In this code review blog post series, I share my experiences and lessons learned about code reviewing. Primarily, I show you code reviewing best practices to boost your code quality. But, you also learn which pitfalls to avoid while performing code reviewing.

The foundation of those code review blog posts is my experience analyzing and improving code review practices and tooling at Microsoft. I worked with hundreds of engineers and analysed thousands of code reviews. You can see this code review blog post series as an intense crash course to learn about code reviewing best practices.

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What is Code review?

Code reviewing is a widely adopted and adapted engineering practice. Its main aim is to improve software quality. In addition, sharing knowledge among team members is another important benefit of code reviewing.

Even though code reviewing provides several other benefits, you have to be aware to follow best practices. Otherwise, you might tap into several pitfalls.

Microsoft’s code review process

I have been working at Microsoft as a software engineer and researcher for several years. My main focus was to analyze and improve engineering practices and tools. One of the key areas I focused on was code reviewing.

In this blog series, I am going to share the key insights and lessons learned about code reviewing at Microsoft. All of them are backed by research and are grounded in actual experiences and knowledge from high performing engineering teams. At Microsoft, I performed several large-scale studies involving thousands of engineers and millions of code review comments. The lessons learned presented in this code review blog post series are derived from those empirical studies.

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The series consists of 9 blog posts. You can read each one of them separately. Still, you might get the best out of it reading it consecutively.

  1. Code Reviews at Microsoft
    In this post, I explain how a common review process looks like at Microsoft, and which code review tool is mostly used at Microsoft.
  2. Code review pitfalls: learn which problems slow your team down In this post, I deep dive into the main code review pitfalls teams face when practicing code reviews.
  3. Proven Code Review Best Practices
    Learn which code review best practices make your team productive and boost code review feedback value.
  4. How to give great feedback
    The benefits of code reviews rise and fall with the quality and value of the feedback. In this post, I show you proven ways to boost your code review feedback.
  5. Code Reviews at Google Code reviews at Google are lightweight and fast. Code reviews are completed in under 5 hours. That’s much faster than most other large software companies. In this post, I show you why.
  6. Code Review Checklist
    If you want to boost your productivity and your rigor at the same time, a code review checklist is what you are after. This one is also downloadable.
  7. Don’t criticize my code
    Even the most useful, well-intended and well-written feedback can sting. This post discusses why that is and what you can do about it.
  8. Don’t teach during Code Reviews
    In this post, I’ll show you a common pitfall you should avoid when you set out to teach during code reviews.
  9. Organizational Trade-offs to consider during Code Review Process Design
    Even if you are aware of all the best practices, there are several trade-offs you have to keep in mind. For example, do you favor review speed or review rigor? In this article, I dive into this topic.
  10. Wrap-up post

This article first appeared on Last updated: March 17, 2019

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Written by Dr. Michaela Greiler who is obsessed with making code reviews your superpower. Learn more about her workshops.