I am a co-op at a company. Sometimes, I find myself in situations where I am making many pull requests for my project for review, but the team is busy with understandably more important matters. If these pile up it does tend to lead to a blocking problem where I am not sure what else I can do to make productive use of my time.

In this situation, what would be the most appropriate course of action?

  • 12
    Pratt around on stackexchange until 5pm ;)
    – Gusdor
    Jun 19 '14 at 15:03
  • I today had the inverse problem: there were that many pull-requests to review that I didn't have time to do my own work. Jun 19 '14 at 19:11
  • 4
    A question as a non-native speaker: What the heck is a "co-op"? Dictionaries only list the meaning "cooperative society".
    – sleske
    Jun 19 '14 at 22:04
  • 1
    Increase test coverage, write documentation Jun 20 '14 at 1:32
  • 3
    co-op = intern + student. It's like an internship but for college credits. The Universities here that offer it all take 5 years for a 4 year program because the students spend 1 year at a job usually either found or strongly supported by the university. It is an awesome program, and great for entry level jobs that require a year (or more, lol what) of experience.
    – edthethird
    Jun 20 '14 at 3:34

In addition to the other talk-to-your-boss answers: you need to communicate early whenever possible. Don't go to him and say "I'm blocked, what can I do now?", say "I'll have my code in for review tomorrow and I'll be blocked after that" so

  • he can plan the rest of the team's time to deal with your reviews in advance
  • you've given him some advance notice that he'll need to find work for you tomorrow because you'll be blocked.
  • I like the proactive stance as opposed to reactive.
    – Aaron Hall
    Jun 20 '14 at 15:30

In this situation, what would be the most appropriate course of action?

When your work is blocked, and you aren't sure what to do next, talk to your boss.

Ask her/him what you should do while waiting to be unblocked.


There is almost always something you can be doing for a few hours while waiting for reviews. Start looking at the next piece of work you are going to be tackling. Study code you might be working with in the future. Read up on libraries or tools that you are not completely familiar with. Read good general programming books or blogs. However I'll assume you have done all those things, or that the delays have got longer than a few hours, and you;ve run out of things on your TODO list.

As Joe Strazzere says. talk to your boss. Ask two things:

  1. What should you do when waiting for the reviews
  2. More importantly, is there a way of getting a faster turnround on your reviews.

Faster turnround on your reviews has several benefits, as well as not blocking you. You will better understand the feedback on your reviews if they turn round fairly quickly. You also have to 'context switch' less if reviews come back to you sooner, improving your productivity. There is also less chance of change conflicts.

It varies between companies, depending largely on how detailed the reviews have to be, but reviews generally shouldn't take more than a day or so, and less is preferable. Ask your boss what turnround is expected, and if there is anything that can be done to reduce it. Also note whether it is a few people who take longer than others to do their reviews.

  • 1
    The other side is the context switches necessary for your reviewers for a timely review, which blocks their work. Jun 19 '14 at 19:13
  • It doesn't block their work. It adds more work, which is something entirely different. "Blocked" means you can't make progress because you have to wait for someone else.
    – gnasher729
    Jun 20 '14 at 9:48

The other answers make a good point about communicating with your boss, but another thing you can do here is to talk to the person who will be reviewing your work and ask them if there's anything you can do that will help them get to your review faster. If you can take a little work from them it will help things move faster, and it looks good as well.

  • I'd like some feedback about why this is getting downvoted.
    – Daenyth
    Jun 22 '14 at 12:32
  • Yes, I think this is a fair comment. What I try to tell my developers is that they should be proactive about getting their PRs signed off. If we are only allowed one WIP, they should find someone to review it and make a game out of finishing each story so they can move onto the next. I think this is a valid approach, and seems to encourage teamwork in my experience. Also, OP, don’t worry about downvoters who don’t comment; they usually have nothing constructive or insightful to add.
    – dKen
    Mar 5 '18 at 3:48

Your todo-list is empty? You can have mine :P

If this happens on a regular basis, it is time to get some smaller side projects you can work on. But first make sure everyone involved knows what you are doing.

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