How to Address Hanging Review Requests and Long Reviews

Why Are Hanging and Long Reviews a Problem?

Reviews are important "team" task. Reviews affect both quality of code and delivery. Hanging reviews slows the cycle time of the team, creates bottlenecks in the delivery pipeline, and if done in a rush can hurt the quality of the review and thus quality of the code that is merged and released.

How to Find Hanging Reviews

Click on the Activity tab > sort by Pull Requests > select Pull Requests Hanging. From here you can see a list of all PRs currently unreviewed for over 3 days. To see hanging reviews that are only 1 or 2 days old, click on Additional Filters > Event Dates > update the Updated Date.

How to Address Review Bottlenecks

In order to reduce the delivery risk level that is introduced by a hanging review request, we'd recommend the following actions:

Set up Slack alerts for review requests hanging and long reviews

Slack alerts for hanging PRs can notify the team in real-time when a request has been hanging too long.

Haven't connected Slack? You can read how to here: How do I connect and manage WorkerB Team Alerts?

To enable a work at risk alert for your team. Go to Team Settings > Notifications > turn on the Review request hanging and Long Review notification type. Click Edit this under each alert to set the threshold for the alert to one day, or even a half a day. Your teams channel will be alerted of any hanging PRs and can click into the PR directly from Slack.

Educate team about the importance of fast reviews and give full visibility to the team

Providing the team with full visibility about hanging review requests and explaining the importance of fast and efficient review processes can create a culture in the team where members who are aware of hanging review requests step up and pick the hanging requests for review.

Assign more reviewers to review the pull request

A single reviewer might create a bottleneck in the review process. If the designated reviewer is busy with other tasks or is out of office for the day, this causes a delay in the review process. Assigning more than one reviewer to the pull request will increase the chances that this review is picked up faster.

Ask reviewers to pick up the request

Many times review requests simply "fall between the cracks" and unintentionally ignored by reviewers. Giving the reviewer a friendly reminder about the review request that is waiting may in many cases expedite the beginning of the review process. Slack alerts work well to remind the team of hanging reviews.

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