Devart Blog

Agile Code Review Process with Review Assistant

Posted by on October 9th, 2013

Summary: This article describes a scenario of Review Assistant usage in agile development process. The peculiarity of this scenario is that every team member is allowed to join a code review.

Some time ago we received the following question through our technical support:

Hi guys!
Our company is currently evaluating Review Assistant, we are using ‘Simple review workflow’ in our project.
The issue is there is no way to create review without assigning a reviewer to it. This doesn’t allow us to use agile process, when anyone who is available can join a review.
Is there any way to create review in current version?

Problem description

That company uses Review Assistant in the environment in which they have:

  • Agile development process
  • Highly disciplined team
  • No review moderator (they use simple review workflow)

But the team wants to go even further. They want:

  • Not to assign reviewers when publishing a code review.
  • Every team member to be able to join a review.

That’s why the wrote to the customer support service.

Solution

Although Review Assistant does not have built-in feature for publishing a code review without assigned reviewers, we managed to propose them a workaround. We’ll simulate creating a review without reviewers.

Additional setup

Before applying the new workflow for Review Assistant we need to:

  1. Create a user with name Nobody. He will be a stub that allows creating a new code review.
  2. Add the new user to the project in which we want to apply the new workflow.
  3. Assign the Member role to that stub-user.
  4. Assign Project Owner role to all living members of the project.

In Review Assistant 2.0 we’ve added email-notifications. Now Review Assistant can send email messages to notify participants about a new review.

To notify the whole team about a created review you need to:

  1. Create an email account named after the pattern team@company.com for broadcasting messages to your team. Ask your system administrator to to this for you.
  2. Set the broadcast email address for user Nobody and turn on the email notifications for this account.

‘No reviewer’ workflow

When creating a new code review the code author should assign user Nobody as a reviewer. In this case, having email notifications properly set up, the whole team receives notification about a new review.

To pick up any unassigned code review a team member should:

  1. Set All Reviews filter in Code Review Board window.
  2. Enter ‘nobody’ in search edit box.
  3. Select, from the filtered list, a review he would like to join and open it.
  4. Add themselves as a reviewer.
  5. Delete Nobody from the reviewers list.
  6. Save changes to the review.

Conclusion

We’we showed you an example of how you can use Review Assistant in agile code review process. Start using our peer code review tool for free today.

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