Candor and Kindness in Software

There are many processes that aim to increase the quality of the software during development. A critical one is honesty. However, honesty can be harsh and it can be counterproductive. That’s why we need to complement candor with kindness. Peer review processes are one of the fundamental parts of ensuring quality in software development. Glossing over a code review and pushing the merge button without more than a 👍 emoji is not helpful. This is kindness without candor. However, unlimited rounds of reviews with rounds and rounds of nitpicks can be even worse. This is candor without kindness. Some times it can feel that your work is being held hostage in code review and that you have to comply with the reviewers demands to get it merged. These are indications of a dysfunctional code review culture.

When reviewing someone else’s code try to self-check if you are being honest and kind. I hope it is also useful to you.

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