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How to plan ahead for peer reviews when most of my work is isolated?

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Anonymous User at Taro Communitya year ago

I'm a junior engineer working with one other person on a pretty isolated part of the codebase. I work closely with this one person, but I don't work for an extended amount of time with anyone else. I am part of a larger team, but the work we do doesn't really interact with them (for example, I don't even take part in their sprint planning, and they generally don't know anything about what we're working on, and us them.)

As a result I only had a couple of peer reviewers in the last review cycle, and my manager said I would need more peer reviews in order to be promoted. What are some things I can do to plan ahead and assemble more reviewers, given I don't naturally get enough reviewers through my core work? I am trying to review some of my team's PRs and be more active on slack in order to increase my interaction with the team, but I'm not sure that's enough to request peer reviews from others.

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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    a year ago

    There are 2 approaches here:

    1. Can you get more people in the team (or others in the company) to care about your work?
    2. Can you get involved in other projects.

    More thoughts below to figure out which path is more viable.

    Option 1: get more people to care

    What is the impact of the work you're doing? Who would get upset if your project never finished, either internal customers or external?

    If the answer is "no one cares", that's a sign you probably shouldn't be working on this 😅

    Part of this is a marketing challenge: how do you describe your work to other developers or PMs to show the positive impact? Does your work speed up developer velocity or reduce friction for a group of customers? Find the people who care and start meeting with them and adding them on your code reviews.

    Option 2: get involved in other projects

    Think about your work in terms of a portfolio. You wouldn't put all your money in one stock, so you shouldn't pin your career hopes on a single project either. Some companies even formalize this like what Google did in the old days with 20% time.

    In addition to your main project, can you allocate regular time to contribute to other work? By "get involved" in other projects, I actually mean "add value". So just stamping PRs with LGTM is probably not enough.

    It's important that you feel like an integrated part of the team if you do this, e.g. attend weekly meetings and have regular check-ins with the people involved.

    If you can't find an easy project to get involved in, could you invent your own? This typically works better when you're more senior and have been at the company for a long enough time, but could you find something relatively straightforward and implement it? Before you do too much, make sure you talk to others to ensure they'd actually get value.

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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    a year ago

    Some good resources on making connections with others on the team: