Chapter 8. Ready for Review

Growing up I learned there were two kinds of reviews I could seek out from my parents. My parents were predictable in their responses. One of my parents gave reviews in the form of a shower of praise. The other parent, the one with a degree from the Royal College of Art, would put me through a design crit. I’ll be honest and tell you that to this day I both dread and crave the review process.

Unfortunately, developers are rarely exposed to the peer review process in schools. The typical review process is the final submission of work to the instructor—with no room for discussion on how to improve. This methodology doesn’t teach students to iterate based on feedback. Graduates released into the workforce may quietly scoff at shoddy workmanship they find around them, passing silent judgment when it’s too late to make changes.

Completing a peer review is time consuming. At the last project where I introduced mandatory peer reviews, we estimated that it doubled the time to complete each ticket. It introduced more context switching to the developers, and was the source of increased frustration when it came to keeping the branches up to date while waiting for a code review. The benefits, however, were huge. Junior coders were exposed to a wider amount of the code base than just the portion they were working on, senior developers had better opportunities to ask why decisions were being made in the code base that could potentially affect future work, and by ...

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