The Unsung Peer-to-Peer Reviewโ€‚by@vanheaven

The Unsung Peer-to-Peer Review

Peer-to-peer code reviews are channels for sharing best practices through suggestions made on the presenter's work. Peer reviews provide an avenue to practice and review previously used and learned concepts. Peer reviews have blessed me with exposure to programming tricks and best problem approaches. The benefits of peer to peer reviews accrue to both the organization and the individuals, however, I will focus on the benefits to an individual. I am still unconvinvinced if you are still skeptical about peer-peer reviews.
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EZEKIEL MWOREKWA Hacker Noon profile picture

EZEKIEL MWOREKWA

Freelance Software Developer|Tech Enthusiast

Preamble

I was on my own doing my usual chores of learning new technologies when "peer to peer code reviews" suddenly occupied my conscience. This conscience morphed into what I write here.

I believe peer-to-peer reviews serve several purposes like employee performance evaluation and the like. However, the focus of this piece is to highlight its use in teaching the best coding principles.

Before enrolling in Microverse, a remote software development school, I did not know peer-to-peer code reviews do a great job enforcing and teaching standards. So, the content herein is derived from my personal Microverse experience. Well, anyone that has a few minutes on their hands can read on.

Early warning! I will not talk about the shortfall of doing a peer-to-peer review because I don't know. (I have not paid attention enough on the wrong side of it).

Definition of Peer-to-Peer Reviews

From experience, I will say that peer-to-peer review is an activity conducted between a group of 2 or more like-minded individuals where one member presents their most recent work(code commits in my case) and the rest of the team members suggest improvements.

Peer-to-Peer Ways

Let's say members can also commend the presenter for the excellent work. That said, at Microverse, peer to peer reviews explicitly exist in two ways which are:

  1. Through standup teams.
  2. Through pull request code reviews.

Through Standup Teams

Standup teams at Microverse are small groups of at most six global software developers who meet every morning and evening to share their development experiences.

Through Pull Request Code Reviews

The setup here is that software developers who have been at Microverse longer get to review pull requests opened by newer ones at Microverse to suggest better ways to improve their code and documentation.

This arrangement is so because Microverse continuously does industry research and puts together up-to-date industry standards. Therefore, those who have been longer with Microverse comprehend these standards over time and pass them on to newer ones through Github pull request reviews.

Benefits of Peer-to-Peer Reviews

In my opinion, the benefits of peer-to-peer reviews accrue to both the organization and the individuals. However, I will focus on the benefits to an individual.ย 

Below, I will list some of the ways I have benefited from the peer-to-peer code review process at Microverse.

You are free to disagree as these are from personal experience and not engraved in stone.

  1. Learning from peers. Peer-to-peer reviews have blessed me with exposure to programming tricks and best problem approaches.
  2. Peer-to-peer reviews provide an avenue to practice and review previously used and learned concepts. When my peers present something that I have used in the past, it has always been a great review of those concepts leading to better comprehension.
  3. Solutions to blockers. Most of the technical blockers I face faced get resolved through peer-to-peer code reviews.ย 
  4. Best-practice socializing. Peer-to-peer reviews are channels for sharing best practices through suggestions made on the presenter's work.
  5. Fulfillment from helping someone else get unstuck. Accruing from peer-to-peer reviews is contentment and a confidence boost when one's suggestion or reference becomes a solution to a peer's challenge.
  6. Building rapport with global software developers. This is as clear as day light in that great friendships, collaborations, and even
    revolutionary projects are bound to come out of peer-to-peer reviews. I have interacted with experienced software developers.
  7. Draw inspiration and motivation from other peers. Having accountability partners. One remains focused because one tends to mind what they present to their peers. One aims to showcase something that will inspire, educate or even fortify their credibility with their peers.
  8. Improve soft skills like presenting your thought process in real-time. It is a guarantee that the longer you engage in peer-to-peer reviews, the better presenter you become.
  9. Cross-culture communication. Since peer-to-peer reviews happen between individuals from different backgrounds, one is bound to get good at relating with people that are different from self.

Conclusion

That is it for now, and I am not entirely responsible if you are still unconvinced about peer-to-peer reviews.

The onus is on you to dig deeper into the subject matter. That said, peer to peer review is a great activity and can effectively be used to achieve high results on any project work.

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