The Uncertainty Principle

A new code review system is being introduced at work which will see new/changed code formally peer reviewed before being accepted to the code base.

Sounds great!

It is, from the point of view of streamlining our development process without compromising on quality.

I sense a but?

But… the whole thing has me burning through spoons fast.

How so?

I’m worried because the process will force the two kinds of interaction that I find most troublesome when working with NTs:

1. Following a set of rules.
2. Providing fact based feedback.

Rules and facts; no offense, but isn’t that what you guys live for?

Ha, no offense taken and without speaking for all autistic people, it does seem to be generally true that we like rules and facts.

So what’s the problem then?

Well, following rules around NTs is hard because they don’t follow them. Or at least they often treat them as optional. I can’t do that. I’ve asked the Rule Makers and been given clear guidance that I should always follow the rules. If I break the rules, I am disobeying an instruction – clearly wrong. If I follow the rules, people get frustrated with me – clearly undesirable. So I just have to wait for the conflict.

And providing feedback, what’s the problem with that?

Essentially, it is the uncertainty of the interaction – I have no scripts that I can use to guide me.

Practice makes perfect, I’m sure you will pick it up.

I doubt it. I develop scripts using a trial and error approach, but this requires predictable results and in terms of providing critical feedback, I can find no pattern in the responses and reactions I have observed. I have spent the past few weeks trying to prepare in readiness for the change, informally reviewing the checkins and working on providing feedback without upsetting or antagonising people. This can’t hurt, but I know it’s not going to help.

What are you going to do?

I’m going to make sure that I use the review process tool to the best of my ability to try and ensure the quality of our code is as high as possible. I’m never going to compromise there. I’m going to try my best to spot patterns in behaviour and change course before DEFCON-1 is reached. And if an NT locks on to me and malfunctions ED-209 style, well, I just hope someone is able to pull it’s plug before my skin turns green.

Post tune: Ludacris, Beast Mode.

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