Unexperienced reviewers

Again I should say a big thanks to Zuzel Vera Pacheco, Mike Conley, and Alecia Fowler for helping me iron out potential problems with my experiment.

A final lesson I learned this week from the test runs with my fellows is that I should have considered that unexperienced reviewers will not actually know how to do a code review, so I have to account for that.

I think the best way to deal with that problem is to have a checklist of the types of comments the participants could give, including:

  • Poor or very good coding style in any way (whitespace, variable/function/class names, etc)
  • Functional mistakes (doesn’t do what it should as far as the reviewer can tell)
  • Poor or very good design in any way (classes, class members, data structures, etc.)
  • Poor or very good comments
  • Poor or very good error handling
  • Poor or very good performance

Perhaps I will even require that the participants only give feedback from these categories, though I don’t like that idea because I don’t want to exclude something really important by mistake.