Crafting an Effective Code Review Checklist

Code reviews are the cornerstone of ensuring code quality, fostering a collaborative relationship between developers, and identifying potential code issues in the primitive stages.

To do this well and optimize the code review process, a code review checklist is essential. It can serve as an invaluable tool to streamline evaluations and guide developers.

Let’s explore what you should include in your code reviews and how to do it well.

A Blueprint for Effective Code Review Checklists

50% of the companies spend 2-5 hours weekly on code reviews. You can streamline this process with a checklist, and developers save time. Here are eight criteria for you to check for while conducting your code reviews with a code review tool or manually. It will help to ensure effective code reviews that optimize both time and code quality.

Readability and Maintainability

A complicated code is not helpful to anyone. Therefore, while reviewing code, you must ensure readability and maintainability. This is the first criterion and cannot be overstated enough.

Organized Code Composition

The code must be orchestrated into well-defined modules, functions, and classes. Each of them must carry a unique role in the bigger picture. You can employ naming conventions for each component to convey its purpose, ensuring code changes are easily understood and the purpose of the different components at a glance.

Uniform Formatting

A code with consistent indentation, spacing, and naming convention is easy to understand. To do this well, you should enforce a standard format that minimizes friction between team members who have their own coding styles. This will ensure a consistent code across the team.

Contextual Annotation

By adding in-line comments and documentation throughout the code, you will help explain the complex logic, algorithms, and business rules. Coders can use this opportunity to explain the ‘why’ behind the coding decisions and not only explain ‘how’ something is done. It adds context and makes the code-rich in information. When your codebase is understandable to the current team members and future developers who would handle it – you pave the way for effective collaboration and long-standing code. Hence, facilitating actionable feedback and smoother code change.

Architectural Integrity - Build the Code for Scalability and Sustainability

No building is secure without a solid foundation – the same logic applies to a codebase. The code reviewer has to check for scalability and sustainability, and a solid architectural design is imperative.


Partition of the code into logical layers encompassing presentation, business logic, and data storage. This modular structure enables easy code maintenance, updates, and debugging.

Design Patterns

In software development, design patterns are a valuable tool for addressing recurring challenges consistently and efficiently. Developers can use established patterns to avoid unnecessary work, focus on unique aspects of a problem, and ensure reliable and maintainable solutions. A pattern-based approach is especially crucial in large-scale projects, where consistency and efficiency are critical for success.

Testing and Quality Assurance

Code reviews have to ensure meticulous testing and quality assurance processes. This is done to maintain high test coverage and quality standards.

Coverage Assurance

When you test your code, it's essential to ensure that all crucial functionalities are accounted for and that your tests provide comprehensive coverage.

Boundary Testing

You should explore extreme scenarios and boundary conditions to identify hidden problems and ensure your code behaves as expected in all situations, meeting the highest quality standards.

Ensuring Security and Performance

Ensuring security and performance in your source code is crucial in the face of rising cyber threats and digital expansion, making valuable feedback a vital part of the process.


Scrutinize the user inputs that check for security vulnerabilities such as SQL injection. Check for the input of validation techniques to prevent malicious inputs that can compromise the application.


If the code performance becomes a bottleneck, your application will suffer. Code reviews should look at the possible bottlenecks and resource-intensive operations. You can utilize the profiling tools to identify them and look at the sections of the code that are possibly taking up more resources and could slow down the application.

When code reviews check security and performance well, your software becomes effective against potential threats.

Object-Oriented Analysis and Design Principles (OOAD)

OOAD principles offer the pathway for a robust and maintainable code. As a code reviewer, ensuring the code follows them is essential.

Single Responsibility Clarity

When reviewing code, aim for singular responsibilities. Look for clear and specific classes that aren't overloaded. Encourage developers to break down complex tasks into manageable chunks. This leads to code that's easy to read, debug, and maintain. Focus on guiding developers towards modular and comprehensible code to improve the quality of your reviews.

Substitution Dynamics

It's important to ensure that derived classes can seamlessly replace base classes without affecting consistency and adaptability. To ensure this, it's crucial to adhere to the Liskov Substitution Principle and verify that derived classes uphold the same contract as their base counterparts. This allows for greater flexibility and ease of use in your code.

Non-functional Requirements

Beyond mere functionality, non-functional requirements define a codebase's true mettle:

Code Transparency

While reviewing code, you should ensure the code is self-explanatory and digestible for all fellow developers. The code must have meaningful variable and function names, abstractions applied as needed, and without any unnecessary complications.

Debugging with Clarity

When it comes to debugging, you should carefully ensure the right logging is inserted. Check for log messages that offer context and information that can help identify any issues that may arise.

Configuration and Environment

A codebase should be adaptable to any environment as needed, and a code reviewer has to check for the same.

Externalized Configuration

A code reviewer should ensure the configuration values are not included within the code but are placed externally. This allows for easy modifications and ensures that configuration values are stored in environment variables or configuration files.

Cross-Platform Compatibility

A code should ideally perform well and consistently across diverse platforms. A reviewer must check if the code is compatible across operating systems, browsers, and devices.When the code can perform well under different environments, it improves its longevity and versatility.

Fostering Collaboration and Constructive Feedback

The final part of code reviewers is to ensure the process results in better collaboration and more learning for the coder.

Constructive Feedback

Good feedback helps the developer in their growth. It is filled with specific, actionable insights that empower developers to correct their coding process and enhance their work.

Knowledge Sharing

Code reviews should be knowledge-sharing platforms – it has to include sharing of insights, best practices, and innovative techniques for the overall developer of the team.

Code Review Best Practices

A code reviewer must ensure that certain best practices are followed to ensure effective code reviews and maintain clean code:

Evade any Hardcoding

Hard coding shouldn’t be a part of any code. Instead, it should be replaced by constants and configuration values that enhance adaptability. You should verify if the configuration values are centralized for easy updates and if error-prone redundancies are reduced.

Insightful Comments

The comments shared across the codebase must focus on problem-solving and help foster understanding among teammates.


Complicated if/else blocks and switch statements should be replaced by succinct, digestible frameworks. As a code reviewer, you can check if the repetitive logic is condensed into reusable functions that improve code maintainability and reduce cognitive load.

What Shouldn’t Be a Part of the Code Reviews?

Cosmetic Concerns

A code review should not include cosmetic concerns; it will efficiently use your 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, you should base your reviews on the established team and organizational coding standards. Imposing the coding standards that you 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, you can focus on improving readability and following the best practices.

Review Codes for Best Code Outcomes

The process of curating the best code review checklist lies in ensuring alignment of readability, architectural finesse, and coding best practices with quality assurance. Hence, promoting code consistency within development teams.

This enables reviewers to approve code that performs well, enhances the software, and helps the coder in their career path. This collaborative approach paves the way for learning and harmonious dynamics within the team.

Typo, an intelligent engineering platform, can help in identifying SDLC metrics. It can also help in detecting blind spots which can ensure improved code quality.