Category Archives: Blog

Excuse me

Yes, all excuses to skip a review have already been used before… Thanks to my reviewers, here’s a sample set retrieved from my administration!

  • If … reviews, then I’m fine with it.
  • I don’t have time for it.
  • I will not review this.
  • I’m afraid we’re not in a position to provide our review under the current circumstances.
  • I did not make it in time.
  • This is far too complex for person without knowledge.
  • My dog was ill.
  • This document is in Dutch, I don’t understand it.
  • Unfortunately, this review is not going to be done by me.
  • Temporary other prios.
  • I did not receive the document. But do not bother, don’t send it, because probably I will not have an opinion anyway.
  • This does not seem to be part of my area of knowledge.
  • I was ill.
  • Production issues, so no time!
  • I don’t have time. And if I did, I still don’t know what would happen.
  • I’m at the Alpe d’HuZes – will not make the deadline.
  • I can not make chocolate out of this.
  • Sorry, too busy with other activities.
  • I will not review, I’m burn out.
  • Your message can not be delivered to the following persons or distribution lists:…
  • Out of my scope, no time.
  • I can not comment on this.
  • No time, and I assume this is not interesting anyway.
  • I can not open Excel sheets on my Mac.
  • I can not open Excel 2007 sheets on my old machine.
  • No comment. Not my area of expertise.
  • I think I’ve reviewed this during last weeks’ team meeting. Probably I do not have comments.
  • I will not review because <name> stopped his review.
  • I’ll skip this one.
  • Knowing the author, this document must be perfect.
  • Knowing the author, I’m not even going to spend time on this cr*p.
  • This is not my cup of tea.
  • Pressure on work is too high. Will not make it.
  • As always, this does not touch my domain.
  • The document does not have a version number. Now I can not review it!
  • I can’t give it priority at this moment, sorry.
  • Car-accident, can not respond now.
  • Will review during approval.
  • XXX
  • No way!
  • Unfortunately, no constructive criticism from me.
  • Not going to make it because of too much hassle.
  • No comments, will suggest walk trough.
  • To my disappointment etc…
  • Let others have opinions.
  • Luckily there is no relation with my domain, so I do not have to comment.
  • No comment, usual reason.
  • It nearly missed my domain –> nearly no comments.
  • Unfortunately, lack of intellect.
  • I assume this does not have a relation with my domain.
  • I’m not working on Sunday’s.
  • I’m marked as optional, so I will not review.
  • I’ve reviewed a previous version of this document.
  • Maybe later.
  • I’m too late again!
  • … and for this one too late as well!
  • I did not have time for the Time Management training…
  • I’m too late again, am I?
  • I do not have opinions.
  • Where should I begin… long story…

And the number one:

  • Dear sender, I am on holiday until… Your mail will not be forwarded.

The human factor

Decades ago desk checks, reviews, inspections and walk troughs where recognised as very useful preventive measures in software creation. [Gilb, Fagan] Instead of fixing defects in the testing, pre-prod or production phase, reviews made fixing possible in the same phase the issues where introduced. A lot has been described and can be found in books and online.

So, what’s new? Why a website about structured reviewing?

Because in a lot of projects the review process stops at the same speed as it was introduced. But also because a structured approach, no matter what technique or what project situation, will help to make it a success. I think the key-factor in this process is the moderator.

Do you recognize the following unstructured “review process”?

Ad hoc review processIt does not work, does it? Unfortunately, a lot of try-outs end like this with a notation that “reviewing does not work in our project”. (And if it does nót fail, you probably have very, very, very patient authors and reviewers in your project!) What’s missing is the moderator. A role which most of the time is highly underrated.

With the moderator in place, the process looks like this:

The moderator is the linking pin in the review processIn this process, the moderator is the initiator, the coordinator, the inspirator, the administrator and the motivator. The moderator keeps the reviewers sharp, helps them out, chases them, reformulates comments and makes sure the comments are respectful to the author and critical to the product. The moderator makes sure everybody feels safe to note down comment, does not judge one who does not participate and lowers the threshold to provide feedback. The moderator reports and measures, improves quality and secures knowledge. The moderator compliments and thanks and brings a positive spirit to the team.

Writing and reviewing is done by humans; no matter how perfect the process, techniques and methods are. The moderator represents the human factor.