Talk About Quality

Tom Harris

Are Reviews My Work?

with 2 comments

Want quality improvement, professionalism, and mentoring? Just deploy this short list of responsibilities for each and every person in your company:

  • Do your assigned job correctly
  • Regularly take a step back and find ways to improve how you do your job
  • Demonstrate these improvements to those around you

What’s missing, though?

These guidelines don’t tell you where reviews fit in. Specifically, when somebody, who is doing his job correctly and trying to improve how he does it, comes and asks you for your review and comment on some work product.

We know that reviews can catch defects at 1/10th the cost for each stage earlier we do them. Going further, reviews can be a mentoring platform, and teach extremely effectively, because they are based on people’s current, real work.

Still, many of us react to such a review request, at best, by agreeing to do it, maybe even doing it on time, but all the while feeling, “I’m helping someone else, but I’m taking time away from my own work.”

So that’s the question: is there a fourth item on the list:

  • Review others’ work when they ask your help

I think there can be, but only if management, in its leadership role, declares that reviewing others’ work is part of each person’s job. And in its management role, rewards time spent on reviewing equally with time spent on the assigned job.

Getting the benefits of any kind of review — code review, design review, or others — depends on it.


Written by Tom Harris

August 29, 2006 at 11:32 pm

Posted in Agile, Code Review

2 Responses

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  1. I would say that your fourth item is part the definition of professionalism: helping your colleagues by reviewing their work and mentoring them as needed.


    Lidor Wyssocky

    August 30, 2006 at 12:43 am

  2. Yes. And I say that this part of professionalism will happen only inasmuch as management defines it as part of people’s “day job” and rewards them equally for it.

    Tom Harris

    August 30, 2006 at 7:53 am

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