Cross-Office, Cross-Time Zone Reviews in codes?

Code reviews get more difficult when reviewers are not in the same location. They are especially challenging when reviewers are sitting in very different time zones. I have had my fair share of these reviews over the years, modifying code owned by teams in the US and Asia, while being based in Europe.

Good code reviews account for the time zone difference when they can. Reviewers aim to review the code in the overlapping working hours between offices. For reviews with many comments, reviewers will offer to chat directly or do a video call to talk through changes.

Better code reviews notice when code reviews repeatedly run into timezone issues and look for a systemic solution, outside the code review framework. Let’s say a team from Europe is frequently changing a service that triggers code reviews from the US-based owner of this service. The system-level question is why these changes are happening so frequently. Are the changes done in the right codebase or should another system be changed? Will the frequency of changes be the same or go down over time? Assuming the changes are done in the right codebase and the frequency will not go down, can the cross-office dependency be broken in some way? Solutions to these kinds of problems are often not simple and could involve refactoring, creating of new services/interfaces or tooling improvements. But solving dependencies like this will make the life of both teams easier and their progress more efficient for the long term, meaning the return on investment is often quite impressive.