How To Implement Code Reviews Into Your DevOps Practice

Integrating code reviews into DevOps practices requires careful planning and consideration. Discover strategies to adopt to implement successful code reviews.

DevOps encompasses a set of practices and principles that blend development and operations to deliver high-quality software products efficiently and effectively by fostering a culture of open communication between software developers and IT professionals.

Code reviews play a critical role in achieving success in a DevOps approach mainly because they enhance the quality of code, promote collaboration among team members, and encourage the sharing of knowledge within the team. However, integrating code reviews into your DevOps practices requires careful planning and consideration.

This article presents a discussion on the strategies you should adopt for implementing code reviews successfully into your DevOps practice.

What Is a Code Review?

Code review is defined as a process used to evaluate the source code in an application with the purpose of identifying any bugs or flaws, within it. Typically, code reviews are conducted by developers in the team other than the person who wrote the code. To ensure the success of your code review process, you should define clear goals and standards, foster communication and collaboration, use a code review checklist, review small chunks of code at a time, embrace a positive code review culture, and embrace automation and include automated tools in your code review workflow. The next section talks about each of these in detail.

Implementing Code Review Into a DevOps Practice

The key principles of DevOps include collaboration, automation, CI/CD, Infrastructure as Code (IaC), adherence to Agile and Lean principles, and continuous monitoring. There are several strategies you can adopt to implement code review into your DevOps practice successfully:

Define Clear Goals and Code Review Guidelines

Before implementing code reviews, it’s crucial to establish objectives and establish guidelines to ensure that the code review process is both efficient and effective. This helps maintain quality as far as coding standards are concerned and sets a benchmark for the reviewer’s expectations. Identifying bugs, enforcing practices, maintaining and enforcing coding standards, and facilitating knowledge sharing among team members should be among these goals. Develop code review guidelines that encompass criteria for reviewing code including aspects like code style, performance optimization, security measures, readability enhancements, and maintainability considerations.

Leverage Automated Code Review Tools

Leverage automated code review tools that help in automated checks for code quality. To ensure proper code reviews, it’s essential to choose the tools that align with your DevOps principles. There are options including basic pull request functionalities, in version control systems such as GitLab, GitHub, and Bitbucket. You can also make use of platforms like Crucible, Gerrit, and Phabricator which are specifically designed to help with conducting code reviews. When making your selection, consider factors like user-friendliness, integration capabilities with development tools support, code comments, discussion boards, and the ability to track the progress of the code review process.

Related: Gitlab vs Jenkins, CI/CD tools compared.

Define a Code Review Workflow

Establish a clear workflow for your code reviews to streamline the process and avoid confusion. It would help if you defined when code reviews should occur, such as before merging changes, during feature development, or before deploying the software to the production environment. Specify the duration allowed for code review, outlining deadlines for reviewers to provide feedback. Ensure that the feedback loop is closed, that developers who wrote the code address the review comments, and that reviewers validate the changes made.

Review Small and Digestible Units of Code

A typical code review cycle should involve only a little code. Instead, it should split the code into smaller, manageable chunks for review. This would assist reviewers in directing their attention towards features or elements allowing them to offer constructive suggestions. It is also less likely to overlook critical issues when reviewing smaller chunks of code, resulting in a more thorough and detailed review.

Establish Clear Roles and Responsibilities

Typically, a code review team comprises the developers, reviewers, the lead reviewer or moderator, and the project manager or the team lead. A developer initiates the code review process by submitting a piece of code for review. A team of code reviewers reviews a piece of code. Upon successful review, the code reviewers may request improvements or clarifications in the code. The lead reviewer or moderator is responsible for ensuring that the code review process is thorough and efficient. The project manager or the team lead ensures that the code reviews are complete within the decided time frame and ensuring that the code is aligned with the broader aspects of the project goals.

Embrace Positive Feedback

Constructive criticism is an element, for the success of a code review process. Improving the code’s quality would be easier if you encouraged constructive feedback. Developers responsible, for writing the code should actively seek feedback while reviewers should offer suggestions and ideas. It would be really appreciated if you could acknowledge the hard work, information exchange, and improvements that result from fruitful code reviews.

Conduct Regular Training

An effective code review process should incorporate a training program to facilitate learning opportunities for the team members. Conducting regular training sessions and setting a clear goal for code review are essential elements of the success of a code review process. Regular trainings play a role, in enhancing the knowledge and capabilities of the team members enabling them to boost their skills. By investing in training the team members can unlock their potential leading to overall success, for the entire team.

Capture Metrics

To assess the efficiency of your code review procedure and pinpoint areas that require enhancement it is crucial to monitor metrics. You should set a few tangible goals before starting your code review process and then capture metrics (CPU consumption, memory consumption, I/O bottlenecks, code coverage, etc.) accordingly. Your code review process will be more successful if you use the right tools to capture the desired metrics and measure their success.

Conclusion

Although the key intent of a code review process is identifying bugs or areas of improvement in the code, there is a lot more you can add to your kitty from a successful code review. An effective code review process ensures consistency in design and implementation, optimizes code for better performance and scalability, helps teams collaborate to share knowledge, and improves the overall code quality. That said, for the success of a code review process, it is imperative that the code reviews are accepted on a positive note and the code review comments help the team learn to enhance their knowledge and skills.

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