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Managing Short Timers

May 18, 2011

I am currently in a position where I am the sole individual on a in-house project.  This project is used for new employees to work on until they are moved to their permanent position.  Being the sole individual on the project I am responsible for the new employees from anywhere to a week to a month (hence short timers).

I have never managed people and I guess I technically still have not.  I think I am more of a technical lead.  I am responsible for introducing them to the project and getting as much out of the individuals as possible.  There are many hurdles you have to jump:

  • Most incoming developers are Java based and don’t have any C# or .NET MVC experience.
  • Have you understand what the project is very quickly.
  • Must adjust to new development environment (Repository,  IDE, Issue Tracker, etc).
  • Communication.  All short timers are based in a satellite office about 90 minutes from the corporate office.

Now that I am done complaining maybe I can give some hints to help “manage” the situation.

  • Communicate – First week twice a day, second week once a day, and after the second week talk as needed.  You should also be available as much as possible especially in the first 2 weeks.
  • Start small – Start with easy tasks.  Even the ones with 20 years experience need time to adjust to a new setting and development style.
  • Document –  Make sure you know what they are doing and how they did it.  This is especially needed if they don’t finish that new feature and your stuck with code you don’t understand.  This goes for in code documentation, issue tracker notes, and wiki documentation.
  • Freedom – Developers need it and flourish in it.
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