The long way through Software Craftsmanship

Open Space: Code reviews

Mar 16, 2015 - 3 minute read - Comments - agilecode-reviewtroll-reviewcraftsmanshipnotesexperience-reportteambarcelona-software-craftsmanship

Today we’ve discussed about code reviews on this open space


These are my notes, in no particular order:

  • reduce information silos all around the company, as everyone [technical] can participate in these events
  • raise the “just arrived” people’s knowledge [Difficult to hit the ground up and running, but these code review sessions can help]
  • invest one person as ‘sheriff’ for the sprint: they will take care of static analysis tools (such as sonar) and continuous integration (CI; such as jenkins). They will make sure others follow the working agreements
  • In the academic environment, some teams do share their patches via mailing lists and this makes it much slower to adapt and review changes [As compared to an on-line sharing system - like web-based interfaces to distributed version control systems] As this team doesn’t have a CI tool, they must test it / try it manually before reviewing the code.
  • Pair programming does not remove the need for code review [This has been surfaced twice]
  • Your work is not more important than your team members' one. [Related to not having time to code review]
  • Do code reviews include architecture? [We’ve agreed that the architecture to some degree should be discussed before code reviews]
  • “Troll review”
  • Anyone can veto pull requests [By opening a question; do not allow for pull requests to be closed with open questions]
  • A 15-minute time slot everyday to code review [As code hygiene; Done right after lunch, breakfast or just before leaving, when you’re tired]
  • Code review tasks have higher priority than other tasks [Do not take other tasks if there are code reviews to do]
  • Code reviews put a lot of pressure so people learn and the knowledge level equalizes across the team


My conclusions, even though some of them were not shared by everyone:

  • Most of the people approve of code review practices: either they are doing them or are trying to apply them at their clients. (Warning: this was a code review meetup, so there’s a bias: people not interested in them won’t come). No one was against doing them.
  • Code reviews have a cost, although it is beneficial to do them
  • Should your teammates not want to participate in the code review after agreeing on doing them, appeal to their professionalism / accountability, then to their time (stated before), then troll them: after a few (healthy) trolling code review sessions, people will feel more comfortable reviewing and being reviewed. Special mention to Miguel who coined (?)1 the term: troll review.
  • Great way of equalizing the (technical) knowledge level within the team
  • Great way of reduce information silos across the whole company
  • They can be fun if you do them properly
  • The need for code reviews do not disappear when pair programming: as long as you have a personal attachment to the code, you might not see its defects.

Your own

Should you have any conclusions to share, please add a pull request to this repository or do it as a comment.

  1. after searching some ten minutes on the internet, there are only a couple of questions on meta.codereview stackoverflow, but not related to this. Update: In here, Vaibhav Mallya talks about a #trollReview, related to code. So, unfortunately, Miguel, you’re not the first one. But there are fewer than 10 results on twitter. ↩︎

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