25 August 2015

Developer Team Onboarding Playbook

Dan Mayer
Dan Mayer @danmayer

photo credit: opensourceway

Developer Team Onboarding Playbook

I’m working on building out a plan to improve our engineering onboarding at Offgrid Electric. As we start to add engineers to the team at a faster pace, the cost of not getting onboarding right increases. I’m sure the playbook is slightly different from team to team, and I think it is important to note that I am developing this playbook with a distributed team in mind.

I reached out to some mentors, past & current teammates, & twitter to develop a plan. I would love further suggestions, if you feel I am missing something or breaking Rule One of Management: First, Do No Harm.

This is my current draft on building out an onboarding playbook:

  • Have a home for onboarding plans, checklists, & materials
    • different pieces in git, wiki, or project management software
    • execute / improve against playbook with each hire
    • plans are available to everyone including the new hires to help improve
  • Checklists
    • accounts to be setup (and who is responsible for setting them up)
    • email lists, groups, permissions to be granted (and who is responsible for setting them up)
    • things that need to happen in the first day, first week, first month
  • Send welcome / Team Introduction email
  • Assign a team buddy
    • helps answer questions on company, process, code, & culture
    • partner for first staging deployment
    • partner for first production deployment
    • many teams make use of a buddy, the concept is covered well in, Make New Teammates Feel Welcome from the Start, of Zapier’s guide to remote work.
  • Day one plan
    • 1-1 with hiring manager, verify basic accounts setup together
    • get on team communication tools (Slack, Asana, etc)
    • git commit to documentation
    • time to install dev tools
    • 1-1 with buddy
  • Initial getting started on the project
    • Follow project setup instructions, sending PRs for any missing, dated, or confusing information along the way
    • tests passing
    • development server success
    • mobile app builds (mobile devs)
    • mobile app can connect to dev server (mobile devs)
  • Initial smaller quick win tickets for the first week(s)
  • Intro Getting Started Pairing Schedule
    • a small number of schedule pairing events in the first few weeks
    • scheduled pairing time with buddy
    • scheduled pairing time with team mates, help with knowledge sharing and getting to know folks
  • Schedule initial check-ins
    • with team lead 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months
    • with buddy
    • with business partners (if sensible)
    • with other key players (QA, etc)
  • Scheduled items should be added to new dev’s calendar

Thanks @mariagutierrez, @glv, @tempo, @sonia_pdx, & @davetron5000 for ideas and inspiration.

If you have ideas, please share in the comments or hit me up on twitter @danmayer