What Poetry Workshops Teach Us about Code Review

Code review is ostensibly about ensuring quality code and preventing errors, bugs, and/or vulnerabilities from making their way to production systems. Code review, as practiced, is often top-down, didactic, and in many cases not particularly useful or effective. By looking at the creative writing workshop model (and strategies for teaching and providing feedback on writing), we can extract patterns that help us to have more effective, more efficient, and more enjoyable code reviews. Not only can we make our code better, we can also help our teams better understand the codebase and communicate better, and thus do more effective and enjoyable work (with perhaps better team cohesion).