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Better code reviews with feedback ladders

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This blog post was published more than one year ago and might be outdated!
· 2 min read
Daniel Ruf
Full Stack Developer

In our daily life as developers, we often do code reviews for changes by the other team members in projects. Until a few months ago the feedback was in pure text form and has often led to longer feedback loops because the intention of the written feedback was not always clear enough. Additionally, it was not directly visible, if there were any blockers, which would have to be resolved before the changes could be merged.

After reading, how netlify improves the code reviews using a feedback ladder, we drafted and internally applied our own feedback ladder concept.

Our final feedback ladder looks like this:

💡 :bulb: (info)
💅 :nail_care: (style)
🐛 :bug: (bug, blocker)
☢️ :radioactive: (code smell, blocker)
💀 :skull: (critical, breaking, blocker)

We are currently rolling out this concept in more projects and so far the review process is much better, feedback is easier to overview and understand. Also, every team member involved in the projects can visually comprehend how important each feedback is.

The following feedback from current team members outlines the acceptance in the teams.

A developer:

I think it is intuitive and "tells a story"

Another developer:

Already made some experiences and it is quite valuable IMHO. You get a nice overview of what you will have to do in the MR.

A project manager:

Emojis telling more than words… Pretty cool to get visual feedback - it’s fast, understandable, and state-of-the-art. I think it’s a great tool and fun to use it.

Since we live the good vibe culture I would love to have well done or great solution emoji such as: 🤩🦹‍♀️⭐️🏆

Others could search for this icon to review great solutions.

Praise good code!