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Introducing Code Review and Collaboration - A Better Way to Manage Pull Requests at Scale

September 20, 2018

Pull Requests have never been just about enforcing code standards, preventing bugs, and inconsistencies in production code. They are the nerve center of any engineering team; where peer review and collaboration happens, knowledge is distributed, and a team’s culture develops and is defined.

Reviewing each other’s code and talking through solutions, is a substantial part of what it means to be a software engineer. But for managers and engineering leaders, the code review process is a beast of its own.

Reviews are always happening and the sheer volume of dialogue exchanged in just a few hours can be overwhelming. It’s virtually impossible to connect the dots and understand what is happening across a team or organization of any size.

While there are plenty of tools built for the mechanics of the code review itself, few are helpful for managing the process as a whole. That’s an instrumentation problem.

As an engineering leader, it’s long overdue for you to finally be able to:

  • Ensure team collaboration is healthy and productive,
  • Shorten feedback loops and accelerate your pull request process,
  • Broaden knowledge of the codebase, and
  • Get everyone on the same page.

Today we’re thrilled to announce GitPrime’s new Code Review and Collaboration suite of features. Code Review and Collaboration provides engineering leadership with visibility into the end-to-end pull request process workflow. Bottlenecks, struggling PRs, patterns, and anti-patterns in team collaboration, and knowledge distribution are now all visible in GitPrime.

It’s the data and dynamics of Pull Requests you’ve never seen, but have always wanted.

A global picture of the code review process

Code Review and Collaboration introduces three sets of metrics to give you a complete picture of Pull Request collaboration:

  • Team Collaboration
  • Submit
  • Review

Team Collaboration metrics are designed to provide a 30,000’ view of what’s happening in the code review process across a team or organization to illuminate the broader dynamics of the code review process.

Submit and Review metrics look at how individuals are collaborating with their peers during the review process.

Here are a few examples of how you can use the new Code Review and Collaboration features in your organization:

Ensure team collaboration is healthy and productive

In a healthy environment, everyone is working together to find the right solution. Reviewers are providing thoughtful feedback, and Submitters are responding to comments, engaging in discussion, and incorporating suggestions.

With the ability to measure how collaborative a group is and track how these trends change over time, you can:

  • Easily discern whether reviews are lively and productive, or if people are piling on,
  • Realize the signs of uncertainty and disagreement in the review process, and
  • Observe interpersonal dynamics and patterns in the review process.

Shorten feedback loops and accelerate your pull request process

Visualizing the activities involved in the review process makes it easy to identify “quick wins” that will improve the team’s productivity as a whole. Measuring and encouraging timely responses will help individuals get feedback earlier, accelerating
the team’s ability to deliver value to customers.

Code Review and Collaboration provides engineering leaders with the instrumentation needed to keep a pulse on the health and effectiveness of the code review process. It gives leadership the ability to:

  • Identify bottlenecks and early signs that a PR is struggling.
  • Know when engineers are blocked or in an expensive waiting state.
  • Encourage timely review, so people are learning faster, and feedback is being implemented sooner.

Broaden knowledge of the codebase and elevate the teams’ performance as a whole

Learning how other engineers solve various problems is one of the best ways for an individual to hone their craft. At a higher level, cross-training engineers through code review strengthens the teams’ knowledge of the codebase as a whole, leading to a more weatherproof team.

By visualizing the interpersonal dynamics and involvement in the code review process, you have the ability to:

  • Give individuals the opportunity to review other team member’s code or ramp-up on a new area of the codebase.
  • Ensure that PRs are thoroughly reviewed, to save time fixing problems later down the road.
  • Encourage everyone to be actively involved in the review process, and coach individuals who are “hogging the mic.”

Get everyone on the same page

Code Review and Collaboration Package also gives engineering leaders with a way to measure and manage the Pull Request process and culture. By coupling high-level insights with a granular view of what’s happening in the organization, you can gauge the health and effectiveness of the process as a whole and drill down into the behaviors that are causing the activity.