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Code Freeze in Software Engineering

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  • Last Updated : 05 Jan, 2021
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As we know for the development of software application/product follows a series of steps which are coming under Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) where each and every phases are very important and needs to followed accordingly to develop a quality software product. Freeze and Inspection are such two important elements which have a great impact on the software development process.

Code Freeze :
Freeze is something in software engineering which actually restricts further changes or modification at a certain point/moment. Code Freeze is one type of freeze among the three types of freeze i.e. specification freeze, feature freeze and code freeze. Mainly freeze is taken into importance at the last phase of the software application/product means the software product is at it’s lunch state or delivery state. So from this, it is clear that freeze is executed at the end of an iteration or before the release of the product to restrict further changes or modification to the software product.

More specifically Code Freeze refers to preventing developers from further modifications on the software code. Means the code is frozen to prevent further modifications to bring a stability in the code before finalizing the product and delivering to client/consumer. So, it is the moment or time in the development process where changes to a software product are stopped.

But, that does not mean, code can not be modified in any case of requirements. Only if any critical case arises that needs to be modified or fixed at this moment further modifications can be implemented but after appropriate approval. After code freeze software application is deployed to production environment and ready to release.

Importance of Code Freeze :
Code freeze is considered as one of important element of software development process as it is the point which delivers a complete software product to the client’s hand. Below are some of the points for which highlights the importance of code freeze i.e.

  1. It reduces risks and prevents disruptions to a stable system.
  2. It restricts developers from frequent changes in a finalized product.
  3. It prevents other application dependencies.
  4. From waterfall days means from traditional development it is being followed.
  5. It allows developers to integrate modules without worrying about unexpected changes.

Advantages of Code Freeze :

  • Signal of a stable product
  • No unexpected changes

Disadvantages of Code Freeze :

  • Sometimes it can restrict business requirements.
  • Sometimes productivity of developers decreases due to freeze policies.
  • Further modifications becomes difficult.
  • Complexities are added to the system.
  • Before initiating code freeze requires clearance.
  • Requires approval of the change control board for modification during critical case.

As we know, code freeze is incorporated from traditional development days means waterfall days but during Agile development approach of software product, incorporating code freeze brings some arguments with it like.

  1. It is Irrelevant and Unnecessary in Agile approach.
  2. It breaks a Core Agile Principle.
  3. It leads to slower, lower-quality Releases.

Keep it in mind before Implementing Code Freeze :

  • Make all required changes before implementing code freeze.
  • Test and correct the expected bugs before implementing code freeze.
  • Confirm no new bugs and if any fix that.
  • Perform proper Security Testing.
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