Tech startups often take the approach of building first and asking questions later. Why check something too closely or spend time on code audit when product updates need shipping? Sure, why not fix those bugs later, or worry about those shortcuts next week?
In the early-stages, everything needs to be done quickly. From product updates to launching marketing campaigns. Fast is often the only speed digital startups operate in.
When your freshly established business grows, the software product needs to grow with it. The problem is, from a product development perspective, when done is always preferable to perfect, poor results start to stack up. Over time, software projects develop technical debt.
Technical and decision-related debt can result in a product that is full of bugs, that has security flaws and gives users a poor experience. Scaling an application with such issues can be a nightmare.
Is there a solution to these problems?
Soon as a startup is in a stronger position, founders and CTOs need to take a closer look at the source code and tech stack they are operating within.
If you've got users complaining about the product, and developers tired of trying to solve difficult problems, and a roadmap that isn't moving forward quickly, then there is a good chance the code needs auditing.
Although an internal software audit can be a viable option, bringing in outside expertise and a fresh perspective holds essential benefits. The development team that built the product and wrote the code are invested in it. Often, there are career and stock options riding on how well they perform. Now, it’s no reflection on them that work was done quickly, because those are usually the decisions founders need to make in the early stages.
However, as soon as everything doesn't need to be done at warp speed, bringing in third-party experts to review the code will solve a lot of problems. An external software audit will save founders, CTOs and dev teams time and money. A study found that every hour spent on code review saves over 30 hours of maintenance. Isn’t it a good reason in favor of running regular software audits?
Related read: Code Review Checklist and Guidelines
A code audit generates clarity and perspective; which are usually in short supply in a fast-paced startup environment.
Code audit results make it easier to make long-term decisions about a software product, what features to build, how to improve the architecture, and other choices that make a big impact on how a startup evolves. These are just a few of the key reasons why you need the audit.
How to audit software applications without hampering the development process?
- Keep it to the point. Before performing the audit, define the scope and risk areas that need to be investigated. This will save reviewer’s time and will help to ensure that all critical areas are reviewed.
- Perform regular software audits. If you are constantly developing your software product, running regular audits will help you prevent problems early and will save you from many headaches in the future.
- Consider hiring external experts to perform the audit. An independent reviewer, who is not involved in the day-to-day development of your software product, can spot the issues missed by your development team and can help in fixing them.
Now, when we understand the importance of software audit, let’s see what to actually expect from it.
What outcomes should you expect from code audits?
Before undertaking a software audit, founders need to know what it is and what it isn't.
Third-party code or software audits aren’t a peer review of code. You aren't getting in external developers to pick apart the work and undermine your own team. Nor is this a debugging exercise. Ideally, if this is done the right way, you should expect the following outcomes of a code audit:
- An in-depth analysis of various aspects of your source code;
- List of problems found during the code audit process;
- Recommendations for fixing these problems and improving the code quality.
With the results of this review, you should have a clearer idea how stable, easy to maintain and scale, and how secure the code is. With this information, the most effective long-term decisions can be made about the product development roadmap, new features, and how to fix problems that may have slowed you down in the past.
Related read: Bugs, Fixes and Free Cheese
When your business grows, your software product needs to scale. Before scaling, you should ensure that your code base is in good shape and there are no technical problems that can hinder the ongoing progress of your application. When the code is stable, clean and secure, new functionality and upgrades can be implemented at a faster pace.
A secure and stable code base is a much-needed foundation for the healthy growth of any software product. However, the reality of software development is that hasty architecture decisions, security breaches, messy code and other technical debt issues missed at the early coding stages can lead to significant rework in the future. That’s why getting a regular code audit and improving the code while the code base is smaller is something that can make the difference between the success and failure of your startup.
At Anadea, we have experience in performing code audits of software systems, web and mobile apps. Contact us to learn more about our software audit services. We would be happy to check the current state of your project, assess its scalability, maintainability and security.