Mining Code Review Data to Understand Waiting Times Between Acceptance and Merging: An Empirical Analysis
Mon 23 May 2022 11:15 - 11:30 at Room 315+316 - Blended Technical Session 1 (Integration, Large-scale mining, and Software Ecosystems) Chair(s): Bogdan Vasilescu
Increasing code velocity (or the speed with which code changes are reviewed and merged) is integral to speeding up development and contributes to the work satisfaction of engineers. While factors affecting code change acceptance have been investigated in the past, solutions to decrease the code review lifetime are less understood. This study investigates the code review process to quantify delays and investigate opportunities to potentially increase code velocity.We study the temporal characteristics of half a million code reviews hosted on Gerrit and Phabricator, starting from the first response, to a decision to accept or reject the changes, and until the changes are merged into a target branch. We identified two types of time delays: (a) the wait time from the proposal of code changes until first response, and (b) the wait time between acceptance and merging. Our study indicates that reducing the time between acceptance and merging has the potential to speed up Phabricator code reviews by 29–63%. Small code changes and changes made by authors with a large number of previously accepted code reviews have a higher chance of being immediately accepted, without code review iterations. Our analysis suggests that switching from manual to automatic merges can help increase code velocity.