I'm an intern working on a project with my mentor Alice and other coworkers Bob and Carla. Bob and Carla are the people most familiar with the project.

Initially, Bob and Carla were happy to give opinions and advice. But lately, they have stopped writing comments on my code and stopped answering my questions in online chat. I'm still making progress because Alice keeps accepting my code changes without really reading them. However, Bob and Carla seem to be disengaging from my project.

I am worried that if they think my code is terrible or I have offended them in some way, they would write negative remarks in my project review and I would not get a job offer at the end of internship.

How can I figure out if I am in trouble?

  • Did you talk with them about this? – Erik Aug 12 '17 at 16:18
  • I'm not sure how to bring up the topic. – user75472 Aug 12 '17 at 16:19
  • As for not answering your questions, you should ask them about that in person. "Did you have a chance to read my question on chat..." Maybe they prefer e-mail or in-person questions. – Brandin Aug 14 '17 at 6:01

Don't overthink this. In a typical internship, the designated mentor is principally responsible for the intern's work. Your mentor is reviewing your code. You shouldn't be worried about whether she is doing the code reviews correctly, and your judgement in this matter is not important.

It is normal for other seniors to also sit in on code reviews, but they have no obligation to review your every code change, unless their boss has asked them to do so. In the world of business, work priorities keep changing frequently, especially for senior level members. Chasing after every project activity is not feasible. It is regular occurrence for the most important task of one week to be entirely dropped next week (and vice versa).

The most reasonable explanation for Bob and Carla's "neglect" of your code reviews is not that they find your code too terrible to review or that you have offended them. It is simply that they now have more pressing matters to attend to, and they consider it sufficient to trust Alice's judgement.

Moreover, if they truly had reason to believe your code was terrible, they would respond by scrutinizing it more strictly, not by ignoring it entirely. That also suggests (as Wesley Long points out in the comment) that they now consider your code good enough to not require reviews by everyone.

If this still bothers you, you should talk to your mentor or your boss about it. If they see the lack of reviews from Bob and Carla as a problem, they will figure out how to remove the impediments and make the reviews happen.

  • 5
    Good answer. Also, B & C may have decided your code is good enough to not need reviewed by everyone. This may be a good thing. – Wesley Long Aug 13 '17 at 1:15
  • Thanks for the helpful answer, I think I am worrying too much about this. – user75472 Aug 13 '17 at 15:31

This is not an unusual pattern. There are several possible explanations which I as a senior experienced myself

  • they find rewriting your code is less effort than reviewing it. I had this situation before: an intern of mine tried a new method of calculation and I decided that when he gets his reference implementation working (where he did a good job), I would port it (saving him from technicalities of an extremely specialized framework). But in the beginning I looked at his code intensely to make sure he is in the right track

    • a young inexperienced colleague of mine joined 6 months ago. For about 3 months I was watching closely what she was doing. Then I was happy how much she understood and decided that we don't need frequent interviews.

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