“That button.. its off by four… no no three pixels” I slowly turn my head to see Kara looking at my monitor. With my eyebrows raised I asked “What?” Kara smiles as she starts to talk “The clear filters button the one you just added, its three pixels too tall”. I rub my eyes and check again, yeah she’s right it is a wee bit taller. With an equal mix of confusion and amazement I turn to her and ask.
“How did you even??”
“I’m awesome that’s how! Also.. It’s a common bug we have, I notice it when a button is beside a text box that the button isn’t a bit too tall but when the button is all by its lonesome it doesn’t bother me at all.”
“Interesting… anyway thanks! I’ll sort this one out.”
Kara shoots me with double finger guns as she walks back to her desk. That little bit of information would have been nice to know too bad it wasn’t in the 54 wiki pages I had to read so I could get up to speed. I adjust the button’s height, give my code a once over and commit my changes. I open up my web browser to go to our Yira so I can update the task board. Felt good to finally get something done.
I notice its abnormally quiet around me, I look up to see that no one else is here which can only mean one thing… stand up time. I bolt from my seat and start sprinting going to the other side of the office where our stand up happens. I swing open the door of the meeting room to find everyone standing in a circle.
“Penalty!” Dennis says. “Let’s give him a chance to catch his breath before we start.”
“W..what?” was the only thing I could say while still trying to catch my breath. I gotta get in better shape, that was like a 15 meter run and I can barely breathe.
Stand up proceeds as usual and I tell everyone that my code can now be reviewed. After stand up I had to answer the penalty question, thankfully it was something easy. As we’re walking back I find Kyle walking right beside me
“Let’s do the code review before I get started working on my stuff”
“Yeah sure.” I wonder why he said lets, I thought review was a solo activity.
We get to my desk and Kyle pulls up a chair to sit beside me. What on Earth is he trying to do?
I was expecting Kyle to walk away now and send me an email or something with his findings instead he just sat there.
“What are you waiting for…? Let’s do this!”
I sighed while getting to work on Kyle’s code review findings.
“Not used to it huh?”
Used to it? It felt weird having someone sit beside me and watch me code. I’m not some fresh grad writing code for the first time! I decided to be polite though “Yeah a little bit” I answered.
“Most of us weren’t at first but we got used to it. There used to be a whole process around writing down code review findings and sending it over. Then we got a bit more high tech with it and had a tool for it where we could annotate and write comments on pull requests.”
“Yeah that’s what I’m used to.” I shot back.
Kyle pursed his lips “What would happen was we’d have a bunch of things for review and no one wanting to take time to do it. Everyone was so into getting their own stuff done that they wouldn’t take time to review someone else’s code
Then towards the end of the sprint everyone scrambles to do code reviews and we’d find a bunch of things we’d need to redo or rewrite. So the feature we were currently working on would end up on ice while we fixed code review comments and if by some miracle we’d manage to finish everything on the last day… Kara would still have to test it.”
“I can’t imagine she’d be pleased about that” I quickly replied.
“Ha! That’s putting it nicely! You know her Karate chop comment had to come from somewhere right?” We both had a good laugh over that.
“So one retro we decided that once someone said that something is for review we’d make it our priority to review it on the same day, even if it meant temporarily putting a feature that’s in progress on pause. It took some policing from Kara and Dennis to keep us true to our word but come end of the iteration things went smoother than it did last time.
Kara was happy that stuff didn’t get dumped on her at the end and we were happy to not get karate chops to the neck so I guess it’s a win-win. Eventually we went from doing code reviews on the spot to pair programming to fix the review comments right there if we could… and that’s how we ended up doing what we do now”.
“So what you’re saying is we’re all doing this to avoid karate chops to the head. Got it!” I said as I started to type in my changes. Kyle just sat there watching me type and every so often pointing out a method or two that would probably be handy in the future. After a good half hour or so of refactoring, rewriting code and Kyle’s corny jokes we reached the point where we were both happy with the code. “Fire her up, lets give it a go” Kyle said as he got up from his seat. “Hey Kara got a minute? We’re gonna try out the new feature” I hear Kyle call out. Kara walks over and stands behind the two of us. She asks me to try out a a few scenarios and even one weird one where I had to click the same button five times in a row. “Seems good enough to me, can’t find anything obviously broken and I guess anything else I find would probably be minor at this point” Kara says. “If she’s happy and I’m happy then lets get this to trunk.” Kyle added.
Feeling a sense of triumph I make my first ever pull request. First in this company at least.“Taco truck came early! Let’s grab an early lunch?” I look up to see Kara motioning to the door. I get up eager to get some fish tacos in tummy. Quite an eventful morning for myself if I do say so myself, I wonder what’s gonna come next?