Are Pull Requests Holding Back Your Team?

Are Pull Requests Holding Back Your Team?

Are Pull Requests Holding Back Your Team? Pull requests are good. Pull requests were explicitly designed to create a workflow to handle distrust. They are a gate-keeping mechanism. To introduce such a mechanism within what should be a close-knit team.

Pull requests are great for open source. But they can hinder the team performance.


The rise of Git, GitHub, and Pull Requests (PR) has resulted in some big changes to the practices and workflows within the software industry. In particular, they’ve revolutionised the world of open source, providing a robust mechanism that allows and encourages strangers to contribute to projects.

The branch and pull request workflow has also been adopted by swathes of commercial software teams, and it seems to have become the de-facto standard of development workflows. But as a user of this workflow for a few years myself, I’m starting to question the following:

  • Has the commercial software industry unconsciously acquired feature branching simply as a means of adopting pull requests?
  • If so, are we forgoing the benefits of “real” Continuous Integration (CI) in order to accommodate pull requests?
  • Are pull requests even a worthwhile endeavour for commercial software teams?

Why We Wanted Pull Requests

Pull requests have an obvious appeal. They provide a really convenient view of new code side by side with the current code. Surely there is no better mechanism for reviewing code?It also allows inline comments to be added, prompting discussions to take place — that can only be a good thing, right?

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