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First I would like to mention that I don't know if these times are typical for pull requests to be reviewed and approved. I am a new graduate who recently joined the company a month ago. I've had 3 pull requests open, one starting from the beginning of this week. None of these pull requests are huge. I've also had no new work items.

I asked my mentor and tech lead (who both assigned these tasks to me) yesterday if they could review the pull requests and if there were any new work items for me. I was told by my tech lead that I wouldn't have any new work items until the pull requests were closed and to "go ping the right person" to have them reviewed. This surprised me, as I'm new and have no idea who the "right person" is besides the people who assigned me the tasks. I asked and was given the point of contact, only to have the point of contact say they weren't familiar with the code base at all and couldn't review the pull request at all.

At this point, I'm not sure what to do. I feel like dead weight. They are reviewing other pull requests but tell me they don't have time for mine and aren't the right people (they are very familiar with the code bases though) to review it. There are also no formal sprints or standups, which I was used to before at my internships, and this means there is no formal review of pull requests that I was used to before. I have a weekly 1-on-1 with my manager since I am new, and he also gave the sentiment of "trying to find the right person" to review the requests. What should I do?

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    Possible duplicate of How do I deal with a lack of meaningful tasks? – gnat Aug 23 at 6:01
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    @gnat, that question was closed as a duplicate as well. So you might consider pointing to the other one directly. But for me, it deals with the issue of the OP not having much to do, but not with the issue of their code not being reviewed. – bilbo_pingouin Aug 23 at 6:41
  • @gnat wow, that definitely is something. And I completely forgot to mention, but I have checked the commit history as well as who approved their commits. Most of them were members of my team in China, who I've never had contact with. The approver was my tech lead. – YamizGers Aug 23 at 7:11
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While waiting a couple of days isn't particularly uncommon for reviewing PRs, the issue here is not knowing who needs to review them. You should bring it up with your manager again, and say you've tried to find the "right person" but haven't managed to. Let them know you would like to know who specifically to contact so you can move on to other work and be as productive as possible, as this issue is preventing the tech lead from assigning you new work.

If you are in a team or know someone working on the same code base, you could ask them who might be most appropriate to review your work, then check with that person to see if they can review it for you. In general it's good to know who's working on the same code base as you (assuming you're not the only one).

While it can be intimidating since you're a new graduate and new to this job, you gotta push back until you get an answer. This isn't some small issue to let slide, it's stopping you from working entirely.

If, as your last paragraph seems to hint, there are people who know the code base and would be able to review your work, but simply aren't doing so, you should mention this to the tech lead and see what he says. If tech lead fails to sort it out, again bring this to your manager and ask what the best course of action would be. Don't let "just find the right person" be an answer.

  • Thank you for the answer, I appreciate it. One of the repos I'm working on hasn't had a commit in over a year, with some of the commits being from people who have left the company. I'll definitely have to see what to do about that. – YamizGers Aug 23 at 7:12
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This sort of "ask someone else" treasure hunt is frustrating, but unfortunately also reasonably normal. It's a consequence of the sort of environment where people are being overworked and know that as soon as they say "yes" to something then that will become a new responsibility that they have to own forever. Which is not a healthy environment, but as a graduate you're not in a position to change that, so you'll have to roll with it.

Two options are:

  • Ask the person you were referred to who you should talk if they don't believe they are the right person.
  • Go back to your mentor and say that the person they referred you to was unable to help, and ask who you should to talk to instead. Be prepared for them to tell you to go back and get the person to review it anyway.

If (and most likely when) those don't lead to any results, arrange a meeting with your manager and your mentor and possibly the person who they think should be responsible for doing the reviews. Get them to talk to each other, and they won't be able to use you as a proxy to avoid their responsibilities anymore.

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    I really wouldn't try to arrange a meeting as a new graduate. The correct thing it to let your manager know of the situation, and allow them to decide what to do. I think "avoid their responsibilities" is a bit negative. It could very well be a simple misunderstanding around priorities. Sometimes tech leads are not even aware that certain people are working on important projects and not able to do reviews. – Gregory Currie Aug 23 at 4:45
  • @GregoryCurrie Possibly. I don't think there's anything wrong with a graduate arranging a meeting with two people who's job it is to help them though. The "avoid their responsibilities" is probably a bit of a projection of my own experiences as a graduate to be fair, but I had seniors essentially playing ping-pong with me until I managed to get them to talk directly to each other. – Player One Aug 23 at 4:48
  • @GregoryCurrie I think the main point is that the OP has already talked to both their manager and the person assigned to be their mentor, and has been told they cannot work on anything else until these three PRs are reviewed and merged, but given only cursory help (if that) at how to actually achieve that. – Player One Aug 23 at 5:00
  • Yeah, I get that. I suppose I wouldn't want the junior to be giving the impression he is hauling the senior dude in front of the manager. Because the manager has authority over the senior guy, it's really the bosses job to resolve this issue. All the manager has to do is send a quick message to the senior guy, and the situation gets resolved. – Gregory Currie Aug 23 at 5:04
  • I hate to say this, but pull requests should be higher priority than anything that doesn't have to be done immediately. The work is done, time to integrate and move on. – Julie in Austin Aug 23 at 18:34

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