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Playbook: How to give quick, helpful feedback on a project shared in this community

Learners in our community often share their projects — both Guided Projects (GP’s) in our courses and their personal pet projects. But they don’t review other people’s projects as often.

Today, I want to urge y’all to review other people’s projects more often to keep our community healthy and strong.

These project reviews are very valuable for our community. They create value for everyone involved:

  1. Value for project sharers: It often takes courage to complete a project and, even more so, to share it with a community. Getting good feedback makes it worth it. We know this.

  2. Value for project reviewers: What’s not so apparent is that you get value by reviewing projects too. Every project is unique. You learn something new from every project. Also, it’s just fun to look at how your peers approached the project that you just completed.

    (Back me up @Elena_Kosourova, @artur.sannikov96, @brayanopiyo18 and @the_doctor!)

What’s preventing you from reviewing?

I have discovered that most of our community has a couple of hesitations against reviewing other people’s projects:

  • Time-consuming — there appears to be a mental barrier that the task of reviewing a project will take a long time, maybe even hours.
  • Imposter Syndrome — Sometimes, learners feel that they don’t have adequate knowledge to review other people’s projects.

If you are one of those learners, I want to debunk these hesitations and provide you with some tips for reviewing other people’s projects effortlessly.

Strategy for giving quick, useful feedback on your peer’s project

You can find the latest Guided Projects shared by your peers in the Guided Project category.

It’s easy to leave a useful feedback on any of those projects in just 15–30 minutes. Here’s how:

Pick one aspect of the project that you feel comfortable with and give feedback on just that aspect.

There 4 general areas that one can dive into based on their level of familiarity with the project in particular and programming itself, in general:

Presentation style

Students want to put these projects on their resume. Therefore, it should be accessible to both technical and non-technical folks. Is the project resume-ready?

  • Is it easy to follow what the author is doing in the project overall?
  • Is the project divided into neat sections with headings?
  • Are there enough Markdown cells to complement the code? Do they do a good job at explaining it?
  • Are the graphs and tables helpful?
  • Is the output of code readable?
  • How do you feel about the storytelling in the project?

Coding style

Without diving into the depths of the code, you can comment on the

  • use of good, descriptive variable names
  • use of functions in the code to reduce redundancy
  • presence/absence of documentation for functions
  • consistency of style

Bugs/inaccuracies

If you are comfortable diving into the code, it can be helpful to point out

  • if the code has bugs
  • if the code is efficient
  • how some part can be made more efficient
  • if the analysis actually answers the question that the author intended to answer

Miscellaneous

Apart from these, here are some silly mistakes that learners often make:

  • Typos
  • Unrendered images
  • Commented-out code left in the project
  • Forgetting to re-run the whole notebook
  • Broken links that don’t open

There are 19 bullets above; your feedback will be appreciated if you can address even one of these bullets.

Tips for crafting your feedback:

  • Be clear about the effort you’ve put in while reviewing. If you haven’t dived too deep into their projects, say something like “After quickly going through your project…”, “Taking a quick glance at your project…”.

    If you haven’t dived into the code mention “Without diving deep into your code, I want to say…”.

  • It is important to keep a tone of encouragement. It’s easy to do so when you find the project outstanding. In other cases, you should appreciate the effort of completing the project and be clear in mentioning the ways of improvement.


Let me know if you have any questions by replying below. :point_down:

Happy learning! :sparkles:

12 Likes

Thanks @nityesh for sharing such nice tips on reviewing other people’s project for feedback

Actually based on my experience , you don’t need much to start reviewing other people’s project. After completing like about four projects in my data science learning path, I developed an interest of reviewing other people’s projects, this is after I had receive very profound and constrictive feedbacks on the projects I shared .The feedbacks/suggestions were ever motivating and I decided to pay back the same. I didn’t have enough tips to give by then , and most of the feedbacks I gave were actually borrowed from the mistakes I made on my own project , and the suggestions that were raised then :grinning:

This has indeed help me in my learning path, just as indicated by @nityesh , every project is unique, and by going through the projects you will not in most cases ,miss a new thing to note down.Reviewing and giving feedbacks on projects also create a friendly environment for discussion for both the sharer and the reviewer and you should be proud of yourself , since you will be part of those people building Dataquest community.

Most of us may have that perception that it’s time consuming, which is literally true. However, I can assure you that with the help of the tips provided by @nityesh, your time will get consumed contractively, with a lot of positive impacts in return on your learning/career path.

Let’s embrace this members :cupcake: :moon_cake:

10 Likes

Thanks, @nityesh! From my experience, a review that covers all areas takes 30-40 minutes for a rather big project (like the analysis of SAT scores of NYC schools) so do not worry if you can’t review more than 1-2 projects a week, it’s still very valuable for you and the sharer.

Also, if you feel like you cannot concentrate only on one area (like me) because then the review seems partial do not try to comment on every single detail of the project but only on the major issues. Believe me, most people won’t notice a couple of typos, or the absence of comments in one code cell. The projects should not be perfect, they should be good enough for student’s portfolios.

One important part to review are charts because people are visual creatures and even if we do not read the Markdown text, we will be instinctively attracted to data visualizations and these should be good enough to tell the story without diving into details:)

Happy coding and reviewing :grinning:

9 Likes

Thank you, Nityesh, for sharing these great guidelines!:heavy_heart_exclamation: Absolutely agree with all the points! :star2:

When I started reviewing other students’ projects here almost a year ago (almost immediately after I had started learning Data Science on Dataquest), at the beginning I really felt quite a strong imposter syndrome. Indeed, I myself was just a beginner at that time, who was I to advise anything to the others? But then slowly but surely I started making progress and being more useful for the Community. And one of the factors of my progress was exactly reviewing the projects, so it was a real win-win situation for all! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: For example, I remember I found a very interesting insight about the AP test when I was doing the SAT schools project. In another occasion, I found a crazy issue in my own project on Star Wars and managed to fix it. And in many other cases, I found a lot of new tricks, more elegant solutions, interesting ideas to develop, etc. Every time it was an incredibly useful experience.

And of course, all the reviews of my own projects shared here were of a great value for me! Judging by the other students’ feedback, my reviews on their projects were helpful as well, which I’m very happy about :heart_eyes: It really doesn’t take much time to look through a project and leave a couple of comments of what works well and what can be improved. Also, at some point, you’ll notice that there are a kind of typical issues in many projects (and Nityesh mentioned some of them), so you’ll just know from the beginning where to look to find them.

Looking forward to seeing more reviewers in our Community soon! :nerd_face::star_struck:

9 Likes