Code Freeze

During the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), each and every element and process of development is extremely significant. Knowledgeable experts carry out software designing, development and testing, while taking care of the minutest details. By doing so, the testers are able to ensure the quality and functionality of the deliverables is as requested by the client. One such element that carries a great deal of importance during the development process is Freeze. Divided in three categories– specification freeze, feature freeze and code freeze –Freeze is that point in the development process after which making changes in the source code and other related resources becomes stricter and difficult. Freeze is executed at the end of an iteration or before the release of the product by reducing the scale or frequency of changes in the software. Moreover, modifications during this phase are ended completely after making sure that all the elements of the software are implemented correctly and do not consist any defects.

What is Code Freeze?

Code freeze is one type of Freeze, in which the code is frozen to prevent modifications done by developers. This mainly happens in the final stage of software development, as the code cannot be changed by developers once Code Freeze is implemented. Only in critical cases, where defects are found in the code after code freeze, developers change codes with the approval of organizations and change control board. Any changes required to fix the critical defect is only done after getting this approval. Through this the developers are able to control defects and bugs in the system, which further secures the quality of the product. Post code freeze the software is deployed to production environment and is made perfect for release.

Why Developers Encourage Code Freeze?

Though Code Freeze restricts modifications and changes in the software system, it provides developers several advantages. Developers all over the world use Code Freeze to reduce risks and to ensure that the system continues to operate without disruptions after its implementation. Some of the other reasons that make Code Freeze popular among developers are:

  • To reduce risk and avoid disruptions to a stable system.
  • It allows QA’s to pressure test the system.
  • It prevents other system or application dependencies.
  • Industry norms also encourage Code Freeze among developers.
  • Code Freeze is an adopted milestone from Waterfall days.
  • Allows developers to integrate modules without coming across unexpected changes.

Disadvantages of Initiating Code Freeze::

There are several reasons and advantages of using code freeze. However, it is important to look at the negative aspects of Code Freeze to get a better understanding of the same. This will enable developers to take important measures, which will further help them in avoiding problems in the latter stages of development of the software. Mentioned below are some of the disadvantages of using Code Freeze:

  • Code freeze makes future feature deployments time consuming and complex.It can restrict or constraint business requirements.
  • Risks and complexities are added to the system.
  • The productivity of the team decreases because of freeze policies.
  • Subsequent release becomes more risky as larger backlogs of features are deployed after the code freeze.

Before the initiation of Code Freeze, the team of developers and testers should keep these factors in mind and take precautions to avoid such scenarios. Moreover, they should be prepared for any hurdle that come in their way of initiating Code Freeze.

Things to Consider Before Implementing Code Freeze:

During Code Freeze the work of programmers and developers increases as it is usually implemented at the end of an iteration or before the release of the product. It is the responsibility of the programmers and developers to look for any discrepancies in the code source and other stages of the development process. By performing this thorough analysis developers can prevent feature and functionality creep late into development process. Beside these, there are several other important things that are taken into consideration while implementing Code Freeze. These are:

  1. Effecting Changes: Carrying out modifications and changes are though difficult before code freeze, it is important for developers and programmers to make all the required changes before freezing the code to improve the quality of the application. Defective features, functionality and errors should be corrected and any other changes required in the source code should be made.
  2. Specific Bug Fixes: The goal of programmers and testers is to test and correct the expected bugs that were found in the earlier stages of the development process. As this is the last stage of software development, the team of developers are dedicated in validating the quality, features, functionality and specifications of the software.
  3. Testing New Defects: Before implementing Code Freeze, developers need to confirm that no new bugs or defects are found in the system. These new defects or errors can be a result of changes and modifications done during Feature Freeze and can become a hurdle in executing the application.
  4. Testing Less-critical Vulnerabilities: The biggest threat to a code freeze are the unexpected bugs and defects. Therefore, it is extremely important to check for all the vulnerabilities that may seem minor or non-threatening. If untreated, these can create a functionality error after the release of the product, which can further harm the reputation of the organisation as well as the developers.
  5. Proper Security Testing: To ensure that the software application is as per the requirements of the client, performing proper security testing is important. With its help developers can track all the tested and not tested software applications, which will allow them to spot applications that are not secure.


The restrictions and constraints in Code Freeze can be unappealing to some developers, but by initiating it developers can enhance and secure the quality of an application. Moreover, it improves the features, functionality and specifications of the software, which further benefits the client’s organizations. Developers and programmers pay extra attention to all the elements of the software before Code Freeze, as no changes or modifications are implemented in the source code or other related features once the code is frozen by the developers. Therefore, all the necessary changes and improvements are done during the Feature Freeze, where implementing changes is difficult and complex, but they are not restricted.