Posted May 3, 2022

We are now in the era of collaborative building, enjoying the benefits of many popular open source projects which power every company’s software stack. This new behavioral trait also permeates through every organization’s internal development processes. Developers benefit from not only asynchronous time advantages, but also from peer knowledge and the review process to produce high quality software.

There are a few activities in a software engineer’s life that have become a part of their daily routine, that they continue to do as they grow more senior and accomplished, that bridges them with other engineers in an organization; Code review is one of these activities in the collaboration layer. It is one of the most critical, collaborative activities in the modern software development cycle. Yet, if we analyze daily developer workflows from a productivity lens, we routinely hear that many developers get blocked waiting for code reviews, reviewers struggle to review enormous volumes of code effectively, and teams waste a great deal of time on unnecessary iterations. Simply put, code review tooling and processes today are still not great.

As we studied and tracked how progressive tech companies handle the code review process and we learned that small atomic commits with faster and independent iterations have worked well. In fact, FAANG companies have built their own custom internal tooling around this concept. We therefore wished someone democratized such tooling, and have been waiting patiently for such a solution; welcome Graphite!

Perhaps no one appreciates this need for better code review tooling more than Merrill, Greg, and Tomas, the cofounders of Graphite. The trio actually originally set out to build a different developer tool, but after becoming accustomed to the powerful developer tools they’d used at their former employers, they felt that the existing tooling for code review was lacking. So they built their own internal tool to be more efficient and productive with how they shipped code. They formalized this concept of small atomic commits as “stacked PRs.”, or stacked Pull Requests.

What started as an internal tool would quickly grow a life of its own. Their friends at other companies who also felt unsatisfied by the existing tooling for code review would ask to use this internal tool. And they would go on to tell others. Eventually, the community brewing around their tool could no longer be ignored. Hence Graphite was born. Merrill, Greg, and Tomas took the bold step to stop working on their original idea, and double down on making code reviews better for everyone else.

As we spoke to users of Graphite, we consistently heard how impactful it is for their teams. Numerous engineers told us how they couldn’t imagine going back to a world without stacked PRs. The improvements to the quality of code were undeniable with less stale code, fewer team members being blocked on reviews, and reviewers providing better feedback. Managers even mention stacked PRs as a powerful framework for training junior developers to spend more time planning and breaking down their work upfront. All in all, we believe every Graphite user experienced a faster development process and higher quality of work output. We believe Graphite will become a key product in the modern DevEx stack of every organization.

So, we are excited to be backing Merrill, Greg, and Tomas, and the entire Graphite team as they build solutions to make developers more productive. Every engineering team who wants to be more efficient and effective around how they perform code reviews should be checking out the Graphite product.