Why Is My New Software Developer Requesting A Code Review Up Front?

October 23, 2020

Posted by: Daniel McMahan

Why Is My New Software Developer Requesting A Code Review Up Front?

Any development shop that takes on your custom development project without a code review will ultimately cost you time, money, and patience. 


You’re fed up with your current software developer and you’re ready to move on. It could be because they don’t communicate adequately, not delivered on their promises, or you just need some fresh new ideas to get your project to the next level.  


Regardless, you’ve made the decision to move on. Now it’s between two development shops. They both have talked up a big game, assured you that they’d get the job done right and on time.


But wait, one shop informs you that they would like to perform a code review before they will take your project on. The other shop, however, says they take the project on sight-unseen. Your choice should be pretty obvious, right? The faster we get started the faster, we can get done! Not so much, and here’s why. 


Wasting Valuable Time, Money, And Patience


When a software development team doesn’t do a true review of what they’ll be working on, the project always takes more time than expected. Something always comes up that’s unforeseen. But knowing what potential issues you’ll run into upfront will provide a seasoned estimation team with all of the knowledge required for anticipating these concerns. 


When a review isn’t done, instead of hearing “we ran into some hiccups, but we’re still on schedule” turns into “we’re sorry, it’s going to take an additional two months because we didn’t take into consideration X, Y, and Z.”  


Those added months of development time will cost money. And it’ll be you, the client, that will ultimately be requested to bear that burden. 


Wouldn’t it make more sense to considerably reduce this scenario's likelihood by performing a code review


When A Code Review is Actually Warranted


For simple business presence websites that are built with standard content management platforms like WordPress, a true full code review probably isn’t necessary. 


But when you’re talking about custom software that has been developed over a long period of time with various infrastructure, sometimes by a multitude of people with different development styles and best practices, it’s imperative for your new development team to know what they’re getting into.


Knowing what they’re getting into isn’t just important for them, it’s important for you too. 


Wait, Isn’t Code Just Code?


Unfortunately, code isn’t just code. The reality is that there are so many variables when it comes to taking on a new software project. 


You don’t want a development firm to quote you, then get into the weeds and suddenly realize that things aren’t what they seemed, or their expertise won’t help in this situation. Having a team learn on the job will cost you way much more throughout the life of the project.


What if the code is poorly written using bad development practices? What if the database(s) aren’t fine-tuned for speed? What if the technologies used are too antiquated or limit scalability? 


How Much Do You Really Know About What You Have?


When you stop to think about it, how much do you really know about your software project? If you’re like the majority of project owners, not much. How can you possibly make educated decisions about the future of your platform if you don’t know what you’ve got under the hood? 


It’s imperative to know what you’re getting into before you just take on a project. And that includes you, the client. You may be surprised to find out that the development team you previously used wasn’t so bad. Or you could find out that they didn’t put quite enough effort into it as it seems. Wouldn’t it be a relief to know for sure?


Fair Enough, But What Do I Get?


With a standard code review, you should always expect, if not specifically request, the following items. 


What Is Being Checked

  • Server Hardware Infrastructure
  • Server Software
  • Database(s)
  • Front End Design
  • Back End Design
  • Front End Code (web and/or app)
  • Back End Code (web and/or app)
  • Project Flow (web and/or app)
  • Content Management Flow (web and/or app)
  • E-Commerce Integrations (if applicable)
  • API Integrations (if applicable)
  • Third-Party Tools & Plugins (if applicable)

Specific Technology Reviews

  • The Individual Technologies Used
  • The Version Currently Being Used
  • What Is The Latest Version Available
  • What Version Is Supported
  • Known Limitations
  • Commence and/or Integration Dates
  • And More If Required For Your Specific Project

Code Review

  • Formatting
  • Architecture
  • Best Practices
  • Non Functional Requirements
  • Object-Oriented Analysis & Design Principles
  • List Of All Reviewed Files
  • And More If Required For Your Specific Project

Overall Analysis & Recommendations

  • What Major Issues Exist, If Any
  • Are We Comfortable Moving Forward With The Project?
  • If Not, Why?
  • If Yes, What Hurdles Exist?
  • What Recommendations Do We Have, If Any?
  • And More If Required For Your Specific Project


The Long And Short Of It


The reality is, if a software development shop you’re vetting doesn’t require a code review before they take on the project, you need to take it upon yourself to ask why. If their answers don’t coincide with what you see above, then you may want to consider vetting them further or simply taking your business elsewhere. 


Learn more about code review and our custom software process




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