Thoughts On Standards

I try to set a high standard for myself. I like being tied to excellence. Even more, having high standards in a domain forces you to have a stronger understanding of that domain. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to discriminate between high quality and low quality.

As a team lead, I try to hold my team to the same standards that I have for myself. A core part of this is not allowing code reviews that don’t meet acceptable standards. I also include “nit” statements where changes are passable but it would be preferable if they were improved in some seemingly small way.

I do this to help pass on high standards. As a lead, it would be wrong for me to do otherwise. I wouldn’t be holding myself to my own standards, and I wouldn’t be helping my teammates to improve. As Jeff Bezos says, “people are pretty good at learning high standards simply through exposure.”

So, it was surprising for me to hear (secondhand) that some junior engineers were envious of other junior engineers whose team leads didn’t nitpick in reviews. Is this just a misalignment understanding, or is there a better way that these things should be taught?

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