How Open Source People Do Pull Requests and What We Can Learn from Them

I want to describe the way I’ve observed the open source community does pull requests. I feel the pull request workflow within companies can benefit a lot from the way OSS people accept contributions.

There are a couple less obvious risks that a workflow like this helps you defuse. The most important one is that it prevents you from investing too much engineering effort prior to consensus from the maintainers that they do in fact want the feature.

The secondary risk reduction has to do with your testing energy as an engineer. By making incremental changes and saving your intense testing session for the end, you conserve a lot energy. Frequently we introduce bugs that make it to production because we make a change based on a code review. Then, something breaks when we are not expecting it to, and because we are so close to merging it, and have already done so much testing (and are tired out), we don’t catch the bug.

You’ve probably heard the saying that fixing a bug in production is 10x more expensive than fixing it in development, so an approach like this is very worth it.

What practices do you and your team benefit from in your pull request process?

David Trejo
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PS Here are a couple more tips I’ve found very useful in my engineering work:

David Trejo

Engineer at Chime & consultant. Past clients include Credit Karma, Aconex, Triplebyte, Neo, the Brown Computer Science Department, Voxer, Cloudera, and the Veteran's Benefits Administration.