The problem of long-lived pull requests

People pointing at a laptop screen
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A developer in your team picks up a new ticket, dashes to implement the change and opens a brand new PR in no time. Brilliant! However, the team was not aligned on the solution approach. There are issues with the coding style, lack of tests and other little things. Back and forth ensues, and the PR stays open for about a week before it gets merged to main.

It becomes a problem when this doesn’t happen just the one time. The good thing is that you’re not alone. I see this problem in teams all the time.

Typically, a misalignment as to what productivity means causes the problem. Some developers may be optimising for number of PRs created when what you want is to deliver value constantly. Laura Tacho covers the issue exceptionally well in this Twitter thread. Sometimes, folks may not be entirely aware of the impact of long-lived PRs.

🔥 The impact

The impact of having many open PRs for too long can be significant.

🧯 The solution

So how might you fix the problem?

🙌 Thanks for reading! Let me know whether you found the article useful or if you have used a different strategy to make sure PRs in your team are healthy.

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