For Your Consideration

About 10 years ago or so I was working at a small tech startup. We had a new “rockstar” engineer join my team, we’ll call him “Steve”. As I sent him my Pull Requests he would occasionally add a comment like “consider …”. One time it was “consider adding a test for this new functionality”. I thought to myself for a minute and then proceeded to write a test, pushed it up and then sent it over to Steve once more for another review. It was definitely satisfying to get that approval ✅ from him.

I soon realized there was some magic in the word “consider”. I mean of course as a senior software engineer I knew that unit tests were part of the job, but since testing culture had not been ingrained into my flow I didn’t feel the desire to write a test. I could have easily brushed off the comment or have ignored it and gotten a “rubber stamp approval” from another engineer, but there was something to that word “consider” that really convinced me to comply with the suggestion.

Since then I have been adding this word to almost every Pull Request comment I have made. I’ve even used the word “consider” almost passive aggressively at times. Like “Consider linting this file” or “Consider not using this pattern. Consider using the better pattern over here”.

The other advantage to using this magical word is that it builds up influence with your colleagues. This can be especially useful as you are starting a new job.

So consider using the word “consider” when giving feedback to your colleagues. Whether that’s a review of code, architecture or design documents.

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