I recently observed some contract offers which included a "code review by third party" clause - the contract would not pay out fully until the code review was completed and it received a pass.

I was surprised, especially considering that these were fairly simple, and small-scale contracts (churning out vanity apps for the iPhone).

Is this kind of third-party code review a common thing to run into when contracting out as a programmer?

3 Answers 3


It depends what you agreed to provide.

If you provide an outcome, then it is perfectly normal. By cons, if you provide means (typical case), it is not acceptable.

The company that use that clause may have been is some difficult situations where she had invested some money in a developer that produced very bad code.

My opinion is that they are responsible for not doing proper code reviews early and/or proper tests during the hiring process.

Therefore, if you should refuse a such clause in the case you provide your time, rather than results that are implicitly linked to your work (but not guaranteed).


No. Code Reviews of Contractors should be done by their peers and not by some 3rd Party as they might not be aware of problem domain.

  • +1: No... They might not be aware of problem domain - Ya - I thought this was obvious; but apparently not.
    – Jim G.
    Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 15:10

Usually they include something like this, but I have never seen this applied. They may add a clause like that just in case you guys don't understand each other and they want to be protected in a law suit or something like that. Normally this is not something to worry I'd say.

Another scenario that I see very often is that companies hire a third party to do review for other third party companies so they can be sure "that the job is done correctly" but what they get is just weird and uncollaborative situations. I find this practice very destructive because it takes away the focus from making good software and put it on passing the reviewer's review process instead. Lose-Lose.

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