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Onboarding New Developers (a series) - The First Week

In this series, I'm going over how I onboarded a new hire into my development team. I wasn't given a lot of predefined onboarding resources, so I had to develop a plan of my own. If you missed the intro, make sure to read it to have a better understanding of what information I used to make my onboarding plan.

Read the Introductory Post Here

The First Week

The First Week with your new developer will depend heavily on your goals for the employee within your team, and your organization’s onboarding process. For instance, a previous company I worked for spent the first entire week as a cohort of new hires learning about the company’s history and the industry as a whole. Very little time was actually spent with the employee’s actual team during the first week.

If this is the case for your organization, consider “The First Week” to be the first week that the employee can spend with you on a dedicated basis. For my employee’s first week I wanted them to have the resources they needed to be successful, and if they didn’t have those resources yet, to ensure that all requests were in process so that we had a timeline when they could be fully up to speed.

I set up a schedule for the first week with bullet points to get the new hire up to speed with their team members, our normal meeting schedule, and the company culture, as well as the tools we use. There was zero expectation that any meaningful work would be done during their first week.
Though it was broken up into different days, the bullet points on each day were not an end-all-be-all set in stone schedule. They could complete tasks on different days as it suited them. My goal was that most of the tasks be completed before the end of the week.

This schedule included reading materials from our intranet, employee handbook, as well as documentation on the various systems and frameworks that our team uses on a daily basis. Much of this documentation already existed in-house in our Confluence site. If your company doesn’t have resources like these, you may have to come up with some basics and bullet points on your own.

Here is an example:

  • Monday
    • Meet with Manager
    • New Hire Intro with HR
    • Get your computer set up the way you like
    • Make sure you have all the software you need
  • Tuesday

    • Read our Team Member Guide (with a link to this resource)
    • Read through New Hire Documentation (our HR department has an entire section of our Intranet dedicated to New Hires)
    • Read the Slack Guide
    • Read the Zoom Guide (Add any tools or software your team uses to make sure the new employee has plenty of time to get up to speed)
  • Wednesday

    • Mid week check-in with Manager
    • Get familiar with framework that we use (Link to the documentation of the framework or software that your team develops on a regular basis. For example, Laravel, Nuxt, etc)
    • Learn about Jira and Confluence (if your company has documentation or other ticket tracking tools, list those in the first week schedule and make sure to answer any questions about their use as early as you can!)
  • Thursday

    • Learn about our company culture (have the new hire talk to other employees, meet all the team members and other people at all levels of the company if possible)
    • Schedule a meeting with a team member and get to know them (preferably someone outside our team)
    • Get familiar with our Development Process (this included a link to our “Developer Manifesto”)
  • Friday

    • Order any office supplies you need to make your home office productive!

First week overall goal

The new hire has the tools and resources to get some actual work done next week. They’ve met their teammates, they have the software they need to get started, and their access to systems and code they will need has been set up. They should already have (or be in the process of receiving) equipment and licenses necessary to be a productive member of the team, starting on Monday.

So What's Next?

Your employee should be on good footing to do some actual work next week. Start them off at their comfort level (and that of your team's) with paired programming or a small individual ticket.

It's important not to micromanage them. No one enjoys micromanagement. Allow them the freedom to figure out how they fit within your team, but give them the tools and structure to succeed.

The next post in this series will go over the 30-day plan, and how to keep your employee engaged and active as they get used to working with you and your company!

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