Common mistakes to avoid during code reviews

The code review process is vital to the software development life cycle. It helps improve code quality and minimizes technical debt by addressing potential issues in the early stages.

Due to its many advantages, many teams have adopted code review as an important practice. However, it can be a reason for frustration and disappointment too which can further damage the team atmosphere and slow down the entire process. Hence, the code review process should be done with the right approach and mindset. 

In this blog post, we will delve into common mistakes that should be avoided while performing code reviews.

Benefits of code reviews

Helps in optimizing code for better performance

Performing code review helps in identifying areas of improvement in the initial stages. It also helps in code scalability i.e. whether the code can handle increased loads and user interactions efficiently. Besides this, it allows junior developers and interns to gain the right feedback and hone their coding skills. This, altogether, helps in code optimization. 

Enhance maintainability of the code

Code reviews allow maintaining code easily even when the author is unavailable. It lets multiple people be aware of the code logic and functionality and allows them to follow consistent coding standards. The code review process also helps in identifying opportunities for refactoring and eliminating redundancy. It also acts as a quality gate to ensure that the code is consistent, clear, and well-documented. 

Knowledge sharing

The code review process provides mutual learning to both reviewers and developers. It not only allows them to gain insights but also to understand each other perspectives. For newbies, they get an idea of why certain things are done in a certain way. It includes the architecture of the application, naming conventions, conventions of structuring code within a class, and many more. 

Coding standards and compliance

Performing code reviews helps in maintaining consistent coding styles and best practices across the organization. It includes formatting, code structure, naming conventions, and many more. Besides this, code review is often integrated with the dev workflow. Hence, it cannot be merged into the main code base without passing through the code review process. 

Saves time

While code review is a tedious task, it saves developers time in fixing bugs after the product’s release. A lack of a code review process can increase flaws and inconsistencies in code. It also increases the quality of code which are more maintainable and less prone to errors. Further, it streamlines the development process and reduces technical debt which saves significant time and effort to resolve later. 

Common mistakes to avoid during the code review process

Providing vague feedback

Code reviewers do provide feedback. Yet, most of the time they are neither clear nor actionable. This not only leads to delays and ambiguity but also slows down the entire development process. 

For example, if the reviewer adds a comment ‘Please change it’ without giving any further guidance or suggestion. The code author may take it in many different ways. They may implement the same according to their understanding or sometimes they don’t have enough expertise to make changes. 

Unfortunately, it is one of the most common mistakes made by the reviewers. 


  • Always provide clear and actionable feedback to the developers. Never assume they will figure it out on their own. 
  • State what and where it is wrong. Be specific and explain the reason behind suggesting or pointing out a particular issue. 
  • Identify the concerns and suggest ideas or provide guidance that can help developers to implement them accordingly. 

These suggestions will allow code authors to understand the reviewer’s perspective and make necessary changes. 

Skipping tests

The review contains a variety of tests such as unit tests, integration tests, end-to-end tests, and many more. It gets difficult to review all of them which lets reviewers skim through them and jump straight to implementations and conclusions. 

This not only eludes the code review process but also puts the entire project at risk. The reasons behind not reviewing the tests are many including time-constraint and not understanding the signs of robust testing and not prioritizing it. 


  • Educate the development team on the importance of testing and its best practices. 
  • Review tests to understand its working and functioning. It eliminates the risk of bugs and errors in later stages. 
  • Use automated testing tools for quick feedback on code functioning and catching regressions. 

Skipping tests is a common mistake by reviewers. It is time-consuming for sure, but it comes bearing a lot of benefits too. 

Reviewing only new-added codes

Another common mistake is only reviewing changed lines of code. Code review is an ever-evolving process that goes through various phases of change. 

Old lines are deleted accidentally or ignored because for obvious reasons can be troublemakers. Reviewing only newly added codes overlooks the interconnected nature of a codebase and results in missing specific details that can further, jeopardize the whole project.


  • Code should be considered as a whole, complete story that shouldn’t be broken down or read in parts.
  • Examine the complete set of changes to figure out how new code integrates with existing code. 
  • Foster collaboration and pair programming among team members to gain in-depth insights about the same and make the task easier. 

Always review existing and newly added codes together to evaluate how new changes might affect existing functionality. 


A proper code review process needs both time and peace. The rushed review may result in poorly written code and hinder the process’s efficiency. Reviewing code before the demo, release, or deadline are a few reasons behind rushed reviews. 

During rush reviews, code reviewers read the code lines rather than reading the code through lines. It usually happens when reviewers are too familiar with the code. Hence, they examine by just skimming through the code. 

It not only results in missing out on fine and subtle mistakes but also compromises coding standards and security vulnerabilities. 


  • Establish reasonable review timeframes. In the case of large reviews, break down larger tasks into smaller, manageable chunks for focused and effective reviews. 
  • Distribute review responsibilities among team members to ensure fresh perspectives and avoid burnout. 
  • Use automated code review tools to help detect bugs and make the process easier. 

Rush reviews should be avoided at any cost. Use the suggestions to help in reviewing the code efficiently. 

Not going into design and architecture

It is the responsibility of the reviewer to examine the entire code – From design and language to mechanism and operations. However, most of the time, reviewers focus only on the functionality and operationality of the code. They do not go much into designing and architecture part. 

It could either be due to limited time or a rush to meet deadlines. However, it may demand close consideration and observation to look into the design and architecture side to understand how it ties in with what’s already there. 


  • Establish shared design principles and guidelines for reviewers and team members. Each of them must be aware of how design and architecture fit in the bigger picture. 
  • Consult with other reviewers and understand their different perspectives since each of them may catch different design considerations. 
  • Offer training and mentorship on recognizing and evolving architectural patterns. 

Focusing on design and architecture ensures a holistic assessment of the codebase, fostering long-term maintainability and alignment with overall project goals.

Performing code reviews without a checklist

A code review checklist is important while doing code reviews. Without the checklist, the process is directionless. Not only this, reviewers may unintentionally overlook vital elements, lack consistency, and miss certain aspects of code.

Not using the checklist may confuse whether all the aspects are covered as well and key best practices, coding standards, and security considerations may be neglected.  


  • A code review checklist is the most productive way to avoid mistakes. A checklist should include a list of common mistakes and important aspects such as security, business logic, and user access. 
  • The checklist can also include the specific expectations for team members and the form of review. 
  • A code review checklist can ensure an added layer of consistency and involves a structured approach. 

Behind effective code reviews is a checklist that involves every task that needs to be ticked off.

What shouldn’t be a part of the code reviews?

Cosmetic concerns

A code review should not include cosmetic concerns; it will efficiently use time. Use a tool to manage these concerns, which can be predefined with well-defined coding style guides. 

For further reference, here are some cosmetic concerns: 

  • Indentation with spacing: The placement of opening brackets within the code clocks, the inclusion of spaces of keywords like “if,” “for, and others, or utilization of tabes and spaces. 
  • Naming conventions: Whether to choose between snake_case, camelCase, or PascalCase for the different variables and function names 
  • Formatting considerations: Decisions about introducing blank lines in scenarios to improve code readability 

Automated testing

Functional flaws of the code should not be reviewed separately as this leads to loss of time and manual repetition. The reviewer can instead trust automated testing pipelines to carry out this task. 

Automation over manual checks

Enforcing coding standards and generating review notifications should also be automated, as repetitive tasks enhance efficiency. 

Personal inclinations for code standards

As a code reviewer, base your reviews on the established team and organizational coding standards. Imposing the coding standards that reviewers personally follow should not serve as a baseline for the reviews. 

Balancing the code for simplicity

Reviewing a code can sometimes lead to the practice of striving for perfection. Overanalyzing the code can lead to this. Instead, as a code reviewer, focus on improving readability and following the best practices. 

Lack of follow-up actions

Another common mistake is that reviewers don’t follow up after reviewing. Following up is important to address feedback, implement changes, and resolve any issues identified. 

The lack of follow-up actions is also because reviewers assume that identified issues will be resolved. In most cases it does, but still, they need to ensure that the issues are addressed as per the standard and in the correct way. 

It leads to accountability gaps, and unclear expectations, and the problems may persist even after reviewing negatively impacting code quality. 


  • Always track and document the follow-up actions clearly and systematically. 
  • Schedule follow-up meetings or check-ins to review the progress. 
  • Encourage open communication so that developers and junior team members can freely seek clarification and facilitate peer programming.

Lack of follow-up actions may lead to no improvements or outcomes. Hence, it is an important practice that needs to be followed in every organization. 

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The code review process is an important aspect of the software development process. However, when not done correctly, it can negatively impact the project. 

Follow the above-mentioned suggestions for the common mistakes to not let these few mistakes negatively impact the software quality. 

Happy reviewing!