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Lightweight code review reports

Recently I conducted a code review for one of our customers. They already are using A3 reports internally as problem solving and report tool. I really like A3, so I thought why not try if a code review fits in a A3 report.

A lot of code reviews I come across are wordy documents basically copy-pasting the reports of what tools like sonar provide to you for free. In all the teams I know or coached such tools are already available so there is really now need anymore to put that kind of information in a code review report (providing a link should be sufficient).

I think a code review report should be concise, clear and with concrete actions on how to improve. Since these are also characteristics of an A3, let’s see how they fit together.

A typical A3 consists of the following steps1:

1. Identify problem
2. Research
3. Root cause analysis
4. Propose counter measures
5. Develop target state
6. Create implementation plan
7. Develop follow-up plan with predicted outcome

Since A3 is a problem solving tool it doesn’t map 1-to-1 to a code review. The nature of a code review is different then a problem solving process (the code review could be input for a real A3 though).
Some parts can be used, so I mapped this to a code review as follows:

This will give you the report in a nice and concise format.

Then starts the next and probably important part of the code review: The follow up. This means discuss the review with your client and the team members. Come up with an implementation and follow-up plan together with the team.

Happy code reviewing!

1. http://www.coe.montana.edu/ie/faculty/sobek/a3/steps.htm

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