Modern Code Review: A Case Study at Google

Emma Söderberg
Luke Church
Michal Sipko
Alberto Bacchelli
International Conference on Software Engineering, Software Engineering in Practice track (ICSE SEIP)(2018) (to appear)


Employing lightweight, tool-based code review of code changes (aka modern code review) has become the norm for a wide variety of open-source and industrial systems. In this paper, we make an exploratory investigation of modern code review at Google. Google introduced code review early on and evolved it over the years; our study sheds light on why Google introduced this practice and analyzes its current status, after the process has been refined through decades of code changes and millions of code reviews. By means of 12 interviews, a survey with 44 respondents, and the analysis of review logs for 9 million reviewed changes, we investigate motivations behind code review at Google, current practices, and developers’ satisfaction and challenges.

Research Areas