Friday, February 22, 2013

Reviews and feedback

As I work to establish a functioning enterprise and system architecture practice at my company, I came up with some of the below guidance for reviews - code, design, or otherwise.

Anybody can do a review at any time. This includes System Admins, DBAs, Product Owners, UX, Architects, Developers, Leprechauns and Fairies. Everybody looks for something different and brings a fresh perspective, but all in the name of making a better product for our users and keeping Mr. Murphy at bay. In general, everybody, no matter how smart they think they are, can learn from anybody else (no matter how smart or stupid you may think they are).

Feedback must be well articulated, shared, constructive, and actionable. If you don't like something, but can't tell me why you don't like it or what's better, then that's not feedback... that's complaining.

Feedback must be tracked and actioned upon. You just wasted a valuable way to learn if you don't accept feedback. Put it in the backlog as a type of bug, track it, close it. Do your reviewer justice.

We're all human (architects barely so). Humans have feelings. You may hurt my feelings if you criticize my code masterpiece. Okayyyy then. I've written code that’s less than stellar and ignore my own principles from time to time. At no point should reviews be personal or derogatory to the author. The flip side is that no developer should be so attached to their code that if they receive a negative review they become offended. We need to build a culture of continuous improvement and learning, not big brother with a big stick.

There's probably others, but I feel the above is a good start.

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