In a previous post, I talked about why some developers ramp
up faster than others. In this post I would
like to explore ways that a company can aid in the ramp up time.
In my opinion it is in the best interest of the company to
make sure that all of their new employee’s ramp up and become valuable as fast as possible. So, what can a company do to aid in the ramp
up time of new employees?
- Walk a mile in someone’s shoes
If you’re business allows for a developer to shadow another employee for a
while (1-3 days) in order to learn the business, this is a great
idea. I have worked for 2 different
companies (both retail) where they would send their new developers to the
stores to work on the floor to learn the business.
I can say with 100% assurance, this was the best thing the company could
have done for me. Not only did I get
to learn the business, I learned about the products being sold, about the
software product I was going to work on and how it was used by the users. It also made me realize the I would
rather be sitting at a desk coding then selling product to a customer J
- Shadow an experience/senior developer
Have the new employee sit with (pair if you will) either an experience developer
(someone how has been with the company for a while) or one of the senior
developers on the team.
Having the new developer do whit will allow them to see how things are
done on a day to day basis. It will
also get them acclimated with the code base and process that may be in
- Shadow a QA person
Along with having the new developer sit with an experience developer, have
them sit with someone on the QA team.
When they are with a person from the QA team, make sure they are testing
the application. This will give
them insight as to what to expect from the QA department. Another thing they should be learning
while with QA is how the application is expected to be used in the
field. This is very important, especially
if the opportunity to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes does not exist.
- Assign them simple bugs to
Have the new developer fix bugs, this is assuming the product is
already in the development cycle.
Having them fix SIMPLE bugs will allow them to gain a better
understanding of the application’s code base. This will also allow them to understand
the process for fixing issues.
Most importantly, having them fix simple issues will allow the developer
to feel like they are making an immediate impact on the team. This should NOT be overlooked.
- Have them test the application, try to break it
Have the new developer poke
around in the application. Have then
try to break it. What is great
about this is that a ‘new’ set of eyes will ALWAYS find issues simply
because they don’t know how the application was intended to be used. It is also fun to have them attempt to
fix any of the issues they find.
- Have them review any documents that you may have about the project
If you have any documents (use cases, UML diagrams, etc) have the new
developer review those. This will
at least get them familiar with the project and what to expect.
The list above is just my thoughts/opinions on how a company
can help a developer ramp up. I am sure I
have missed things or left out some as well.
By no means do I think that a company MUST do all of the above in order
to have the new employee be successful, the list above is just a dumping of my
thoughts. However, if a company did do some
(or most) of these, I think they would see a large ROI for doing so.
06-20-2007 6:00 AM