Death to Code Review Meetings! Use Review Board

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This code review is dreadful. Putting it on the project schedule sure felt good at the time, but now that we’re all sitting here, I’m not so sure.

What difference does it make? The deadline is tomorrow. It’s not like this guy’s going to rewrite his entire system because it fails the review. Come to think of it, how do we even know if it fails the review? Is there a final vote to decide if it stays on the island? Does it take a simple majority? Super-majority? Can we filibuster? Whatever.

Let’s just get through this. Thaaats it…Everyone keep your heads down and your mouths shut. Let this guy finish reading every line of his code so we can get the hell back to whipping our wounded project into some kind of shape before the deadline.

Jesus, that guy just pointed out a line-break formatting issue. I wonder if I can strangle him with the phone cord from here.

I have no clue where we are now. That code doesn’t even make sense. NO, I didn’t read every line of it before this meeting. Busy coding my own stuff, remember?

Thank GOD we only scheduled this thing for one hour. I couldn’t take any more. Besides, I seriously doubt he’s going to take all that half-assed feedback and try to fold it into his code after we deliver to QA and before he starts on his next high-pressure task. Awesome use of everyone’s time.

While you may not experience all this in your code reviews, I’ll bet you’ve felt some of this pain. Code review meetings are the worst. They eat time, are poorly attended, and people are bad at preparing for them. Further, there’s generally no good pattern in place for actually implementing the outputs of the meeting.

Review Board is an awesome web-based tool that helps solve a lot of those shortcomings. It turns the review from a monolithic death march to a conversation among programmers. There’s very little pressure. You request peoples’ eyeballs, they weigh in, you update, rinse, and repeat.

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Review Board will not blow your process to hell. It’s a very generic tool. If you have more than one person writing code, Review Board will be useful.

Think of it like a message board centered around a code diff. One person posts a diff, the “subject” of the thread, emails go out to other programmers who can look at the diff and have threaded conversations around it.

To learn more about Review Board, visit their homepage and get started. For the visually inclined, check out their screenshots of the app in action.

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