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15 Tips On How To Make Code Reviews Better

8 Mins read

Let’s have a look at how to make code reviews better. You don’t have to be a technical expert in order to give good code reviews — it can be done by anyone. The problem is, however, that this doesn’t happen as often as it should. In fact, there are a number of barriers that can make code reviews difficult for both reviewers and the developers reviewing those reviews.

This post will list those things, along with steps you can take to help make giving and receiving feedback easy for everyone.

1. The Programming Language Barrier

You need to understand the concept of code reviews to make them effective. Learning to understand code before you comment on it can be a huge help. This isn’t something that’s always necessary. For example, you can usually tell whether or not a piece of code is buggy or not just by looking at it, with a little experience. But if you don’t understand why the code is written the way it is, and what it’s trying to do and what could be done differently, then you won’t have a clear idea of how to give feedback.

If the code is complicated so that you don’t know where to start, read about the problem first. Don’t even look at the code until you have a good understanding of what it does (and does not do).

2. Feedback – No Matter What You’re Doing

If you don’t get feedback from your team, or management, you will never know how well you are doing or how you could improve. This is a crucial part of giving and receiving feedback in the workplace. If there is no feedback mechanism in place, this is when it starts to become a real problem.

The most effective way to get feedback is to have other people give you some. If no one else will tell you what they think about your work, you’ll never know if you’re doing good or not. This is why it’s important that your management or team provides this information as well.

No matter how good or bad a job you are doing, if others haven’t seen it, there’s no way of knowing what needs to be improved.

Even if giving feedback isn’t a regular activity for your team, make sure that everyone knows the process and what compliance procedure should be followed in cases of changes and issues. This should be clearly outlined in a document so that you have a set standard of rules that everyone is supposed to follow.

This will help cut down on misunderstanding and help you avoid having to give bad reviews or change your code back again.

3. When Is The Right Time For A Good Review?

The answer to this question depends on a few things. If the developer receives good comments with advice about what can be done to improve their code, then it should always be looked at with an open mind. If they already have a new idea they are trying to implement and they get more feedback that tells them not to do it, then maybe it’s not right now.

You should never give bad reviews, or change someone’s code if they ask you not to. Feedback must come from a person who knows the design of the code, or is familiar with the problem that it is trying to solve. This is how you make sure that changes are going to be appropriate, and don’t make things worse.

4. Give Feedback Quickly

If you want your feedback to be effective, it needs to be given quickly and in a way that helps someone understand what feedback is meant for and what it’s referring to. This means that you should comment on the code directly, in a manner that makes it obvious to the developer what is being said.

The faster you respond, the easier it will be for them to understand what you are talking about and how they can change their code in response to your suggestions.

5. Write Feedback In A Way That Makes It Readable

This is also known as “coding to be read”, because even if developers are not writing code right now, they still need to make sure that it’s easy enough for someone reading their code later to understand what they did and why they did it. Sometimes this is done very well — sometimes not so much.

Good code reviews never write code, but they do explain what is being done, why it is being done that way, and how it could be improved in the future.

Write comments in a way that is easy to understand. This means not just writing every detail of what you are trying to explain in your comment as well — keep things general and as simple as possible. To help people understand exactly what you are trying to say, try to cut subjects down into categories of which they can understand more than they originally thought they would.

If a comment gets too long and complicated, then many people will skip over it rather than read it all. This can give the impression that your comment is more complicated than it actually is.

6. Don’t Blindly Follow Along

If you use reviews to blindly follow along with someone else’s ideas, and make changes just because they say so, then you are doing a disservice to the code — and to yourself. You shouldn’t just accept changes because you don’t think of anything better. If you have any doubts at all regarding something someone says in a review, let them know that they need to explain themselves more clearly before you agree to make the change they are suggesting.

Remember that there is nothing wrong with disagreeing with someone else’s idea or critique. In fact, it’s better to disagree than to blindly follow along. If you don’t know the code well enough to know the best way to do something, then ask questions.

If someone isn’t telling you why they think something will be better, or what the effects are going to be on the rest of the code and how things should be done differently — then don’t follow what they say blindly just because they said it.

7. Collaborate With Your Colleagues – Always 🙂

You can learn a lot from each other if you work together on code reviews. It’s important that you use reviews as a time for collaboration and discussion rather than dwelling on finding problems in someone else’s code. If you both know that you’re going to collaborate, then there’s no need to feel nervous about asking “silly” questions and the like. You’ll actually have the opportunity now, to discuss things in a way that will help move the code project along and make it better for everyone.

If your team environment is not normally like this, then set up brief meetings or chats just so people can discuss things outside of code reviews or other formal meetings.

Work together in a way that helps everyone grow as a developer, and as a team member. This will really help you learn from each other and also stay motivated through tough times when you’re having a hard time.

8. Get Feedback On Your Feedback

Even if you’re not a developer, you can still give feedback in your own way. If you feel that a developer has done something wrong, you can let them know this in a way that won’t be taken personally or negatively. You can also ask questions about their code if something particular is confusing or unclear to you. Instead of simply saying that they did something wrong, try to explain how they could have done it better — and then ask them to explain how they would do it differently.

You should never criticize someone’s code without offering alternatives or ways they could improve it.

9. Don’t Always Base Your Opinions On Your Own Experiences

Don’t be overly critical of something because it’s not the way that you would do it. Sometimes different ways of doing things are better than others, and sometimes they are worse. Don’t assume that you know how something should be done just because you’ve never seen it done any other way — or even because you have. A lot of the time, there are reasons why someone did something in a certain way that might not seem obvious to you at first glance.

It could also be that this way of doing things has been proven over time to work better than other ways.

10. Don’t Waste Time With Things That Don’t Matter

Some programmers are just like that. They’ll spend a lot of time on seemingly unimportant things — and then after making these changes, you’ll never hear from them again. Check first to see if the change was actually going to be worth it in the end. If you cannot tell, and are not going to implement it anyway, then don’t waste your time by focusing on it first.

11. Be Patient

If you find yourself getting angry when someone on the project comes up with an idea that he or she doesn’t think is important or is trying to “improve” the code — then you are probably blocking their progress. They could be right, or they could be wrong — but don’t make assumptions just because they come with a new idea.

The best way to get good results is to understand, explain, and collaborate together. Everyone needs to understand what is happening in order for things to get done correctly, and for everyone’s code to be best practice. If one person becomes frustrated because another person does not “get it”, then that individual ends up being less productive as a team member.

12. Help People Elsewhere When It’s Not Possible To Work On The Project

If you’re not able to fully participate in a code review at the moment, don’t worry — help other people on your team where you can. If you know that someone is reviewing code that you’re writing, or know that a project team member is heading off to a conference or party with their laptop and an idea for something, then offer your help wherever you can.

You could help them out by telling them what they should be looking for when they look at their code — or how the project should be organized in general.

13. Don’t Use Code Reviews As A Way To Handle Personal Problems

This is something that can happen when teams don’t work together or know each other well in the real world. If someone’s code doesn’t look the way they thought it would, or if a developer didn’t think of an issue before he wrote some code — don’t make assumptions about what caused these things to happen. This is just a way for you to vent your anger about something else. It’s not going to help you improve the code, or get more information out of someone else.

14. Try Touching Base Once A Month

This is a way to help keep everyone motivated and on the same page and to help avoid misunderstandings.

A good way to do this is by checking and updating each other’s calendars. Also, try sending an email with a “reminder” or making some kind of a point at a specific time in the month so that each person knows they should be keeping in touch.

15. Not Everyone Likes Working On Code Reviews

Code reviews are definitely not for everyone, as they can be very time-consuming. If you feel that it’s making it difficult for you to stay focused on another project, then maybe you should find something else to work on. 🙂


Feedback is a really important part of software development, and it’s crucial to make sure that you know how to give feedback effectively. You can do this by reading through these instructions and then making sure that you incorporate them into your own workflow.

It’s important that you learn how to give good feedback so that we can all work together much more efficiently as a team. If everyone is able to communicate with each other, then we’ll have fewer problems and have a better chance of making the project successful.

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12 Great Tips for a beginner coder