The report then urged development shops to put any issues found with the code into the backlog, so they are treated as any other bug—assigned as tasks to specific developers and monitored by management.

Code reviews and their results often don’t match up to organizational structures, with about 70% of respondents saying that QA is not represented in the review process, and 55% saying that the software architect is also not involved.

Yet Smart Bear’s Sporar said it’s more important to have reviews done by the right people at the appropriate point of the project’s development. “Which artifacts are you creating in addition to the code, and who is reviewing those? Are you doing unit tests? Who’s reviewing those, the subject matter experts?”

Klocwork’s Fisher sees the review becoming more use-case oriented when more people are brought in. “The number of stakeholders is so much greater outside the chain of command…so you get more ‘Did you think of X?’ ‘Are we delivering on that?’ ”

Social-media tools make it easier to bring in these additional stakeholders, and they are helping to advance code review, even if it’s just informally for now. “Code review traditionally had five guys around a table. Now, you put it out there and see what happens. Chances are someone will be watching,” Fisher said.

Social tools, he added, “form engagements in a more democratized way, rather than specifically saying, ‘You’re invited to a review.’ This brings code review to the people.”

Fisher went on to say that once an organization finds success with code review, “it becomes self-sustaining. The typical tradeoff has been time, features and quality. Pick any two. Quality traditionally has been the last one considered.”

Sporar agreed, saying, “The connectivity explosion and sharing of code has been a huge boon not only to code review, but any kind of collaborative activity. The highest bandwidth still is face-to-face, but schedule and timing conflicts come up, so maybe these [social network] tools can help us out.

“Folks who get onto the correct track, you’ll never get them off of it.”