Build World Class teams through PRs using the HELP method!

Helping carry my son around on Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park. His shoe got wet!

Code Reviews are a wonderful opportunity to connect with your team.

The Version Control Systems that I have been using in recent years are Github (Microsoft) and Bitbucket (Atlassian). Creating Pull Requests (PRs) to do Code Review has never been easier using the tools from either of these VCS offerings.

The code review is one those things that are most susceptible to procrastination and de-prioritization. This can be such a missed opportunity, if one is not aware and awoken. Reviewing code helps unblock the feature and move the dev team forward. It should be considered a top priority. Setup agile dev process workflows to help enable this.

Use the HELP method

HELP is acronym for Humor, Energy, Learning, Patience.

This is the place to learn, spend energy, practice patience, express humor and connect with your team.

My PR review process

  1. Use a CICD deployment link for the PR.
  2. Or, pull branch locally to setup and run.
  3. Happy path the features.
  4. Test it out thoroughly.
  5. Look at the diff in the PR.
  6. Read the code.
  7. Walk through the code with a debugger.
  8. Keep documenting comments in the PR during steps `3-7`.

Humor

There is enough seriousness to go around in this world. Using humor tastefully has several advantages.

Humor is Human.
  • Using self-deprecating humor unites and calms.
  • Reduces anxiety and lets out steam.
  • It makes you approachable, kind and human.
  • People like humor and respond better to you.
  • Excellent icebreaker to help connect with the person.
  • Solid way to warm-up in the code review.

Practical Tips

  • Share some honest stream-of-consciousness, self-deprecating humor.
  • Use emojis, for sure!
  • Some witty comments within reason. Nudge, don’t poke or provoke.

Energy

Thank the developer for they have shared the work load on the team.

Be thankful for the work done.

This is your chance to show your sincerity, inner energy and raw passion for the work that you do.

Show your thoughtfulness, sincerity and energy.

Practical Tips

  • Put in some honest time (timebox/pomodoro), to review the code.
  • Use phrases like To the best of my knowledge, given my limited time spent in reviewing this.
  • Approach with humility of knowledge.
  • Read every single line.
  • Be genuine in your thoughts and feedback.
  • Provide background, reasons and ask for thoughts.
  • Look for solidity and structure.
  • Learn to let go, wherever you can. Let's not be petty.
  • Share the work load with some code commits. Let's call it an assist and help where it's appropriate.

Learning

There is always something new to learn, re-learn and learn with fresh perspectives.

Learning is Forever.

Sharing a relevant quote from one of my favorites.

“There’s a little bit of asshole in every nice guy, and there’s a little bit of genius in every moron.” #RDJ

Practical Tips

  • Channel humility and admit to ignorance.
  • Use phrases like What am I missing?.
  • Keep an eye out for learning something new.
  • Identify opportunities to set up standards and automate them (lint rules, pre-commit hooks etc.).
  • Find opportunities to apply a new methodology, pattern, service or function.
  • If you really strive for it, hard and broad, there is always something to learn.

Patience

No one likes to work with an insensitive person lacking empathy.

No such thing as too much patience.

Unless you are wired chill and bohemian, being patient is a muscle to develop.

Lead with Love.

Practical Tips

  • Start by placing some good faith.
  • Use phrases like Can we give it another go-around, What are your thoughts on this?.
  • Be mindful on your words. Imagine you being the recipient of your own words.
  • Tune into your positive channel.
  • Use the 2-to-1 approach of 2 positive thoughts for every negative thought.
  • Visualize talking to them face-to-face and share thoughts.
  • Learn, practice and strive to genuinely care for this person.
  • Admit genuine review mistakes on the code reviews. Being human and vulnerable can never be understated. It will always work to your favor.

In summary, use a structured method like HELP and the invaluable opportunity of code reviews to turn your good team into one that is truly World Class!

It takes 1 code review at a time!

Best!

Srini @ RoverHead


References

“There’s a little bit of asshole in every nice guy, and there’s a little bit of genius in every moron.” #RDJ

What a Self-Deprecating Sense of Humor Says About Your EQ

Thirumalaa Srinivas

Thirumalaa Srinivas