Documentation User Stories: Pull Request Workflow
Natasha Johnson joined Township as a Junior Engineer in May 2022 and has since moved on up to a Software Engineer. She knows the benefits of documentation first hand and recently created documentation for how to create a solid pull request. She hopes this will support any engineering team that wants to brush up on the value and best practices for pull requests so your code can quickly be used by anyone. Check out a little more on Natasha’s engineering journey and the value of sound pull requests.
Why did you decide to be an engineer?
Years ago my original major was Computer Science, but being in college at that time didn't go so well, so I took another path and pursued another career. Over the years I fell out of love with what I was doing and decided it was time for a change.
I was driving to work after a 10 year career in the prison system. I had been thinking about the unfinished business I had with my web development background and didn’t have a good answer to the question “why keep doing this?” At that moment, I decided to put my notice in. I gave myself a year. I knew I would figure it out. I always said I had unfinished business with Engineering, so I had to see it through and that’s what led me here!
What were the most critical parts of your onboarding as a junior engineer?
Perry, my onboarding buddy! It was nice to have a designated person to go to for questions those first few weeks. Especially since I didn't really know the team nor who to ask for what. Another critical part would be my onboarding checklist. It started out as a daily checklist of things to do, what to install to set up my workspace, who to connect with etc. Then the instructions became more infrequent as I got more comfortable with the process.
What role has documentation played in your ability to be effective?
Documentation is key. When there may not be time for someone to give you an intro to a project, it’s very helpful to have documentation that can quickly get you up to speed on their code and work to date. It also offers insight to your future self for things that you may not have seen before or for some time.
Why are Pull Requests (PRs) important to your day to day? To client work?
Pull requests are important because it gives the person(s) reviewing your code insight as to what changes you made, what features you added, dependencies you created, amongst other things. It's hard to review someone's work without context. A well written pull request gives you that context. In my day to day I have to write up a pull request for every ticket that I complete so that it can be reviewed/approved before it makes its way into production.
How do you hope your documentation can be used or built on by other users?
I hope my documentation can be used as a guide to reference the different elements to include in a pull request and the importance of each of those to anyone who needs context on your work.