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Jess Lee
Jess Lee

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Tips for catching up at work (code specifically) after a long holiday?!

Do you skim through a bunch of closed PRs? Don't even bother and just tackle a new issue?

Top comments (6)

bradtaniguchi profile image

I ran:

Just to remember what the state of things is:

git log

Just to remember what I did last on my work computer in general


I also:

Cleaned up the "todo-board" I have, where I erased things that were completed and re-wrote the things that need to still be done. This helped the most, since I had to review whats completed and still waiting :)

kenbellows profile image
Ken Bellows
  1. If you're asking this question after returning, then this is too late, but if you're planning ahead: before leaving, either finish up your current task or push your code and hand it off to someone else so you aren't returning to a half-finished branch and merge conflict hell.
  2. Pull from upstream, build, and poke around your local instance of the product; look for anything that obviously wasn't there before.
  3. Ask teammates what were the biggest features or refactors that you missed.
  4. If you have time (and a well-used and well-groomed task tracking system), run a query on tasks completed since you left, ideally sorting by estimates/story points/complexity/whatever your tool calls it, largest first, to find the biggest changes. Probably no need to read every single one, especially if you were gone for a long time.
  5. Read your emails (😫), or at least skim them, especially focusing on feature related discussions. Not all groups have these convos over email, so if it's in a more volatile medium, e.g. Slack, you may be out of luck on this one.
  6. Finally, yep, jump right into a new task!

When possible, I try not to spend more than like a day, maybe 2 days, on steps 1-4. Obviously you'll need more time to catch up the longer you've been out (a month for parental leave threw me for a loop...), but the idea is to skim rather than scan. Just look for the highlights; no need to read every comment on every task, the entire backlog of the Slack chatroom, or the entire output of git diff <last-commit-before-leaving> HEAD. Just get the highlights; you'll pick up the rest as you work new tasks.

drewtownchi profile image
Drew Town

I usually do a few things

  • Read meeting minutes
  • Read dev chat channels
  • Skim closed PRs
  • Looking at Kanban boards to get an idea of the current state of things.
  • Talk to my co-workers and ask them "What did I miss?"
edwinthinks profile image
Edwin Mak

Heya Jess,

I do skim through the PRs and not necessarily the code but the name of the PR. If I see something that looks interesting/important then I would dig inside to see whats up.

Either way, I would time box my 'catch up' phase because I think I can spent a lot of time caught up reading through old PRs.

But hehe, as with most things it depends :P

karaluton profile image
Kara Luton • Edited

Whenever I'm heading out on vacation or a long weekend I always write myself a todo list before I leave. This really helps when I come back and have to remember what I was working on! When I'm back I'll go through my emails, check in with anyone I was working on projects with and update my todo list. It really helps me not feel overwhelmed when I get back!

msfjarvis profile image
Harsh Shandilya

I usually read through the git log, check closed and open issues and lightly glance through the chat group