A podcast about coding, but not code

We want to entertain, inspire, and motivate you -- or to put it another way, make your coding career more enjoyable.

... With your hosts: Adam, Ben, Carol, and Tim.

Adam Tuttle Ben Nadel Carol Hamilton Tim Cunningham

Episode 166: What's 'Onboarded' to You?

On today's show, we respond to a listener question from Kamil Maráz:

I have started a Developer experience initiative in our company. We started with a survey, which led to many 1-on-1 meetings; and, one thing that came up a few times was onboarding. Long story short: it's not ideal. I was wondering if this topic could be an inspiration for one of the episodes. For example what is an onboarded colleague to you?; do you care about time to first commit?; what does the onboarding process in your company look like? And so on. As I say often, in our company we love our users, and our developers should get the same treatment. Often the journey starts with onboarding. Thank you for hearing me out.

We love the fact that Kamil is taking an iterative product mindset; and, is trying to apply those same principles to the company, treating engineers as the recipients of the product experience.

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With audio editing and engineering by ZCross Media.


Transcript

Spot an error? Send a pull request on GitHub.

[00:00:00] Highlight

[00:00:00] Ben: I could swear that I heard an interview one time and some, a manager was saying that he will, when he's onboarding a new employee, he will purposefully give them a set of instructions and leave one of the instructions out because he wants to make sure.

[00:00:13] Ben: That someone won't just sit there and spin their wheels. That they'll come and ask him for help. Cause there's literally no way to move forward without asking for help.

[00:00:20] Tim: I mean, let's, let's just say hypothetically, that's real. That, that is a bit of a jerk move.

[00:00:24] Carol: Yeah,

[00:00:46] Intro

[00:00:46] Adam: Okay here we go. It is show number 166 and on today's show, we're going to talk about onboarding because we've got a listener question. so that's what we do. We are here to serve. but first as usual, we'll start with our triumphs and fails. Actually, before we start with our triumphs and fails, I'm just going to throw this in here, first thing.

[00:01:03] Adam: we were out last week. We just couldn't manage to get the four of us in a room, even a digital room together to, to record. And we just decided, you know, 165 episodes. That's a pretty decent streak. Let's allow ourselves a week off. so we appreciate your patience and we're back and let's do the thing. So our triumphs and fails. Yeah. Thank you. Our triumphs and fails. Carol, I'm going to come to you first.

[00:01:33] Carol's Triumph

[00:01:33] Carol: I'm going to kick us off with a triumph. I just finished my very first day of safe training. Would anyone like to know what safe training is?

[00:01:42] Ben: to know what safe training is.

[00:01:44] Carol: Yeah,

[00:01:44] Tim: you, can you now break into locks and stuff?

[00:01:48] Carol: no, I can actually explain a tad bit more about, Oh, how do you say it? Oh, no, I just totally forgot what this stands for. So it's for Agile. It is, Scaled Agile Framework. Man, I shouldn't be put on the spot this week. So it's Scaled Agile Framework. And it's all about, from what I'm gathering so far, it's going really, really small with our work and making sure that everything we deliver is value add to the customer.

[00:02:21] Carol: And it's something about an art train. So I will learn about that tomorrow.

[00:02:27] Ben: All right, cool. Is this an in house training that's taking place?

[00:02:31] Carol: Yeah. And actually Adam had posted an article, you know, in discord talking about corporate agile and some of the side conversations I'm having with other engineers is how is this different from what we're doing? And it just feels like training for someone to get paid to train us to do it differently.

[00:02:47] Carol: But maybe it's because they're bringing a lot of teams in that weren't. using Scrum at all and weren't using Agile approaches and now they're working with the development teams and trying to get the product owners in on it as well early. So, I'll kind of understand more once I finish up the class and see The changes that have been made since I started because it's already been implemented on the other teams.

[00:03:11] Ben: Well, let me ask you a question because when we had Brian on the show last week, I heard the week before and yeah, two weeks, two weeks ago, and, he was saying that, there are going to be teams that don't really care what scrum is because what they're doing currently works and they're not really trying to solve any particular problem.

[00:03:30] Ben: Do you feel like you're solving a problem or is this just a thing that's being implemented now at the company? It's it.

[00:03:37] Carol: I don't know. Yeah, honestly, I feel like it was probably solving a problem before I started working here. So it's something I wasn't, Like, I wasn't seeing it happen because as I started, the other engineers had already finished SAFE or was, or were actually finishing the class the week I started working at OPM.

[00:03:58] Carol: So I'm assuming it solves something, but how it was impacting everyone, I may never fully know because I wasn't working under that way.

[00:04:06] Ben: Understood.

[00:04:08] Carol: That's me. Gonna call it a triumph. What about you, Tim?

[00:04:12] Tim's Triumph

[00:04:12] Tim: Well, since I have no, triumphs in my personal life or career, I'm going to brag on my daughter for a second. I think I mentioned that she was star student, which is best SAT, but now they announced just the other day that, she's also the salutatorian. So she has the second highest grade in the class and she gets to give a little speech, you know, for Europeans, valedictorian, salutatorian is kind of a big deal if you ever watched the high school movie, they give little speeches.

[00:04:35] Tim: Where the plaster boards and all that stuff. so it's a big deal. So I'm super proud of her. Although she should have been valedictorian. She, she was, she was so close. The teacher didn't give her some makeup work, but she had what she was sick and it brought her grade down. So she got a zero on something.

[00:04:49] Tim: So other anyway, not bitter at all. Very proud of her though.

[00:04:54] Ben: your children seem so motivated and so successful. How much of that do you attribute to intrinsic motivation, and how much do you attribute to the, the, with the chains and the punishment and the groundings?

[00:05:09] Tim: You know what we, we rarely ever have to punish them. I think. I'll say this, you know, I'm, I'm loath to give parenting advice because every, every child's different and they, everyone has their own challenges. But for us, early on, my wife and I are, Michelle and I were, came to consensus that we need to have a good routine for them. life shouldn't, you know, try to minimize the amount of surprises in life. because life is scary for a little person. And so have a routine, stick to routine so that they never have to worry about that. And not to spend their brain cycles on that and to have expectations of if they're able to do something, they should do it without us ever having to tell them. those two expectations. I mean, early on it was, it was pretty tight. I mean, we were very, we were very regimented, very, very strict, but then as they got older, it's like pretty much they were on autopilot and then we didn't mess with them. And I think that's even the most important thing is, is once they start doing good things, don't mess it up.

[00:06:14] Tim: Just let them go, you know, just let them coast on their own. And if they need a course correct, you know, you know, mention it, but don't punish them for it because they're going to make mistakes. We very rarely ever had to punish our kids.

[00:06:30] Ben: Well, it seems to be working.

[00:06:32] Carol: Very well.

[00:06:34] Ben: Nice.

[00:06:39] Carol: So with the self correcting thing, I remember when my oldest was in high school and I would get emails from the teacher and they'd be like, Oh, James isn't doing his homework. James hasn't turned this in, you know, James doesn't appear to be paying attention. And I'm like, if James isn't self motivated, I can't fix that.

[00:06:55] Carol: Like what am I supposed to do here? Yeah. I feel like at some point you have to work this out with them and I need you to encourage him to be more self motivated because there's only so much I can do. Like if he's not going to listen, he's not going to listen. So we struggle with that a little bit, but the youngest, no issue.

[00:07:11] Carol: Never a problem.

[00:07:14] Tim: we never get negotiated with our kids. It was, you know, if we told them to do something, it was to be done. That was not, there was no back and forth. There was no, well, this, no, it was

[00:07:23] Carol: going to count to 10.

[00:07:25] Tim: yeah. Oh, we counted to three. Three as much as they got. And then particularly when they're little, it's like, there's no negotiation.

[00:07:33] Tim: You don't negotiate with terrorists or toddlers.

[00:07:36] Carol: I like that.

[00:07:37] Tim: That is, that is our motto. It has been our motto forever. You don't negotiate with them. You tell them what to do. They do it or they don't do it. If they don't do it, there's consequences.

[00:07:45] Adam: Are we talking about the terrorists or the toddlers?

[00:07:49] Tim: Yes. Anyway,

[00:07:51] Adam: Is there a difference?

[00:07:52] Tim: no, anyway, that's me. How about you, Adam?

[00:07:56] Adam's Triumph

[00:07:56] Adam: Oh, I was kind of waffling even with what the thing that I'm going to say, I was waffling whether it was a triumph or a fail, but I'm just going to go ahead and call it a triumph, so we've been working our way through this co op process with the Drexel University to try and hire somebody, for about a six month period.

[00:08:14] Adam: And the interviews are going really well. We are, a couple of days away from finishing up the interviews. and then pretty soon we should find out, whether or not we're going to have somebody placed with us. Like we kind of, we rank them, they rank us and, and hopefully there's a good match there somewhere.

[00:08:29] Adam: but the, the whole thing that's got me thinking is. It's interesting to be on the other side of the interview table as the interviewer, and to be at where I'm at in my career, like, you know, I'm a little older, a little wiser, a little more learned, and I'm, I'm approaching interviews differently now than I did when I was, you know, like a senior developer.

[00:08:54] Adam: I see at a different company, you know, when, when I have, I don't have a financial stake in this company, but you know, I have a spiritual stake or,I feel invested personally, I have a vested interest in this company. And so it just changes the way that I'm approaching it. I'm, I, you know, I'm.

[00:09:11] Adam: Learning on my own free time about engineering management and mentoring and this sort of thing. And, so I'm approaching interviews differently, which is a whole new world for me. It's like a Disney song or something, but then, the best part about it is there, like so many of these, I'm just going to call them, call them kids.

[00:09:28] Adam: Cause that's what they are. They're in college, but like I'm old now. So they're kids to me. The, the, the best thing is that so many of these kids are. Asking amazing questions, insightful, thoughtful questions about us, about the company. Like, you know, I've been with the company for approaching 12 years now.

[00:09:48] Adam: and then the other guys that are interviewing with us, I've been with the company for like eight plus and then the The newest member of my team is four plus years, with the team, which is crazy to think about. It feels like, you know, maybe two years ago we added him, but just time is flying. and so like one of the common questions is like, why have you been with the company for so long?

[00:10:06] Adam: And so it's fun to hear everybody sort of refine their answer to that question because it gets asked frequently, but also like, because Steve, the founder is attending most of the interviews, you know, they'll ask things like about our mission and purpose and our North star. And It's kind of become clear that like, Steve personally has a mission and a Northstar and like a reason why he started this company, but it hasn't really translated into a, transferable mission and Northstar that the rest of us can buy into.

[00:10:41] Adam: And like, and in a way that's a good thing, right? This is a growing pain. We're a company of seven, soon to be eight or seven and a half, depending on how you want to count it. and you know, the. It's not necessarily something that we've had to really think about, right? You just hire good people and you point them in the right direction.

[00:10:59] Adam: You say go, when you're really small. And as we're growing, we're starting to get to the point where like, we're, we're starting to think about doing some of those things that you laugh about when you originally start the company. Like every meeting doc has the, the company mission at the top, right?

[00:11:15] Adam: Like this, like this should guide your discussion. Like we're not doing that. It's not quite that cheesy yet, but it's like. Okay, maybe there's actually a grain of truth to that practice, right? Like, uh, there's a great anecdote. I wish I could remember the book that I'm stealing this from, to credit it, but I read a book at one point and it recounted a story about Southwest Airlines and how their, I don't know if it's their mission or their, their, you know, some sort of purpose statement or whatever.

[00:11:47] Adam: is they're the, the low cost or the budget airline, whatever. And it's like, okay, if you have to make a decision and clearly that decision should not go all the way to the top. What do you use to like, what framework do you use to make that decision? And if you're like trying to decide which salads should we offer for sale on the flight?

[00:12:07] Adam: You know, the, the 10 salad or the 4 salad. Well, it's Southwest where the budget airline, we, we go with the 4 salad. Right. So, like, we don't have that, like, super, you know, crystallized, easy, portable, you know, North Star, to, like, mix all of the metaphors, but, the, and so, it's a triumph in that we feel like this is coming at the right time, we're feeling, destabilized by that, if that makes sense, right time, we're We're in a good place for it to be, to be just pushed a little off balance and feel like this is the right time to be thinking about this and figuring out what the answer should be. Good times.

[00:12:54] Ben: Well, I, it sounds like you had really good interviewees. is there anything in particular that stood out as, as like an interview faux pas, like something that you would just say, Hey, we saw people doing this. This isn't something you should do in an interview. Just an FYI. I don't want you to throw anyone under the bus, but, but I'm just curious if there's anything That

[00:13:14] Adam: no, like. I can't think of anything that anybody did that was bad, except there was like one person that just, I think it was mostly just because it's not a great fit as of right now, this person would be last on my, on my ranking list. And it was, it was a shorter conversation than usual than the rest, because you know, we were getting short answers and it was just like a, yep, sort of thing because they didn't have a whole lot of experience to draw on.

[00:13:42] Adam: So it's like, do you know, can you tell me about your experience with React? And they're just like, Yeah, none. Like, okay, you know, you're not giving me a whole lot to work with here. I'm trying to like, you know, and it wasn't just react. Like, I know that that's kind of a deep topic in, in the career path, right?

[00:13:58] Adam: It's, you know, you learn a lot before you get to react. So, but that was just one example. even it's just like, you know, tell me about your JavaScript experiences. Like you get a 30 second or one minute answer from that. It's hard to. Extend that to a 45 minute interview, right? so that was the only person that I can think of that immediately jumps to mind that, you know, we had any sort of difficulty with at all.

[00:14:24] Adam: There were a couple people that were standouts and then pretty much everybody else is like, okay, yeah, this is a solid alternate, right? Like, I feel like the, this program that they're in at school at Drexel seems to be giving everybody a really solid foundation. And hunger do they have to, to go out and like take the knowledge from the internet and from the world, versus waiting for it to be spoon fed to them?

[00:14:49] Adam: And, how much experience have they gotten either by being, you know, a year older and already been in the program for an extra couple of years or, you know, whatever. You know, if they've already had different tech jobs or whatever.

[00:15:04] Tim: Just got to say Drexel sounds like is a really cool college name.

[00:15:07] Carol: is right.

[00:15:08] Tim: If that's so super cool,

[00:15:10] Ben: it also the name of the drug dealer in, what was that early Quentin Tarantino movie?

[00:15:15] Ben: True Romance.

[00:15:16] Ben: And Gary Oldman's character, I think, was Drexel Spivey.

[00:15:21] Tim: Drexel Spivey.

[00:15:22] Ben: So, there you go.

[00:15:24] Tim: All right. Val Kilmer was in that. I never, I never saw that.

[00:15:27] Ben: Well, it sounds like he had some good interviews, that's awesome.

[00:15:30] Adam: Yeah, yeah, I mean, a couple of things that were kind of fun, I mean, I don't know that this get that you would get away with this in, you know, a senior level, position, sort of thing, but like, kind of, a good surprise for us was one of them showed up and, you You know how you can like set a picture as your background in the zoom meeting or whatever.

[00:15:49] Adam: His background was our company logo. So it was kind of like he was sitting in our office.

[00:15:53] Tim: It's just like a little mind, little mind game. Well, you know, I think it, honestly, there's a, there's got to be like a little bit of psychology to that, right? Like we can envision him working for us, right? He's, he's in our office

[00:16:05] Ben: he's already

[00:16:06] Tim: on the call. Look at, he's on the call. He's branded already.

[00:16:08] Adam: Yeah. But it just showed a little bit of like, you know, effort and, and thought went into it. And

[00:16:14] Carol: Creativity. Yeah.

[00:16:16] Adam: all right, well, that's it for me. How about you, Ben?

[00:16:19] Ben's Triumph/Fail

[00:16:19] Ben: I don't know if I have a triumph or a fail. I've just been, I think I'm a little bit depressed and I've, and that's been kind of just putting me all over the place and I'm, I'm not really having any highs or lows right now. I'm sort of

[00:16:31] Tim: Mood.

[00:16:32] Ben: I'm just like, meh. But like I have, it's like I hurt my back. So now I just started going to physical therapy and that sucks.

[00:16:39] Ben: But at the same time, I'm, I'm calling my book done and, I'm taking it out of the early access program. So I got to set up a final product. So that should be exciting, but it feels very anticlimactic. And then I started to do some more independent learning. Like I've started to learn about HTMX I. I purchased a Svelte.

[00:17:00] Ben: js course on Udemy, but I haven't started it yet. So like, that's exciting, but it's also feels a little bit overwhelming because now I'm thinking about how I want to architect stuff and I'm frustrated by. Questions more than I am about information at this point. And I don't know, I'm just a little bit all over the place.

[00:17:15] Ben: I'm a little bit meh and, I'm, I'm, I'm getting by

[00:17:19] Adam: Well, I personally would count the finishing your book as a huge triumph, man.

[00:17:24] Ben: I mean, it is, but it's, it's like, I don't know. It, it, it, it, it was an arduous process. I feel very satisfied that it's done, but then once I finished it, I listened to this audio book that I heard recommended a number of time on Lenny's podcast called, Several short sentences about writing by Werner Linkenberg or something.

[00:17:45] Ben: I don't know the name off the top of my head. It was really good. And it's like a four hour audio book and it's all about how to write concisely and to the point and don't use cliches and don't use run on sentences and don't put all this logic that doesn't need to be there and trust your reader to know stuff.

[00:18:01] Ben: And I read that and it just made me feel really bad about my own writing. I wish I had listened to this audio book like a year ago. That would have been so much more helpful or 15 years ago. I don't know when it came out. That probably would have been even the most helpful.

[00:18:16] Tim: Just, just throw the whole book into chat GBT and tell it to make it more concise.

[00:18:21] Ben: Make it sound good.

[00:18:24] Adam: Honestly, I, I totally feel you on that. You know, there was this realization that I had, I don't know, maybe a year or two after I initially finished my book where I was like, brevity and, and like terseness can be a feature, right? Like I, I put so much effort. and anxiety into I need to make this longer so that it's worth more dollars, right?

[00:18:49] Adam: Like you're, you're paying me money. I want you to get a lot of value for your money and It took me a long time to realize that less can be more, right? Like by getting rid of the fluff, you're delivering that same value in fewer words is like more value.

[00:19:07] Ben: Yeah, totally. so I have the, just, just for anyone listening, the book is called Several Short Sentences About Writing, and it's by Verlin Klinkenborg, and he, he narrates the book as well, in the audible, I got it on audible, and it's, it's really good, and the last, he spends like the last hour of the audiobook just reading sentences from, I think his students, he's also a teacher.

[00:19:29] Ben: Yeah. And basically saying like, here's why this sentence doesn't work and helping you think about how you could rephrase it and take words out, break it up into multiple sentences. And it's, it's really nice to have a lot of little practical examples as opposed to just, you know, abstractly thinking that your writing sucks, but not knowing how to make it better.

[00:19:46] Tim: Just like refactoring.

[00:19:47] Ben: Yeah, exactly. But for words,

[00:19:50] Adam: that's awesome. I'm definitely, I mean, I already added it to my want to read list when you were talking about it earlier. Now it's going near the top.

[00:19:57] Ben: yeah, it's,

[00:19:58] Tim: Klinkenberg. Wasn't he in Hogan's Heroes? Was that a character in Hogan's Heroes? I'm dating myself on that show. Oh, wow.

[00:20:05] Ben: but I'll call it a triumph and that'll round off for triumph.

[00:20:07] Adam: Yeah,

[00:20:08] Tim: There

[00:20:08] Carol: Yay. We're all winning.

[00:20:09] Tim: All right. Well, my daughter's winning. I'm, I'm, I'm just,

[00:20:13] Ben: you're winning by proxy.

[00:20:15] Tim: yeah, winning, winning by parenting.

[00:20:17] Adam: All right. Well, I guess that brings us around to our topic for the day, the topic du jour. That sounds good. I'll

[00:20:23] Tim: Ooh, fancy. Can I have two of those?

[00:20:27] Listener Question - Onboarding

[00:20:27] Adam: So, this comes as a listener question that I mentioned earlier. do you want to read it, Tim, or do you want me to?

[00:20:33] Tim: No, I can read it. So Kamil, pardon if I mispronounce your name, Kamil Meraz,

[00:20:40] Adam: That

[00:20:40] Tim: So there's an accent on the last, accent on the last day. Kamil says, hi friends. Oh, thanks. Appreciate that. Your heart matters. I hope you're doing well. Smiley face emoji. Recently, I've started a developer experience initiative in our company.

[00:20:56] Tim: We started with a survey, which led to many one on ones, and one thing that came up a few times was onboarding. Long story short, it's not ideal. I was wondering if this topic could be an inspiration for one of the episodes. For example, what is an onboarded colleague to you? Do you care about time to first commit?

[00:21:17] Tim: What does the onboarding process in your company look like? And so on. As I say often in our company, we love our users and our developers should get the same treatment. Often the journey starts with onboarding. Thank you for hearing me out. That's a great question.

[00:21:32] Carol: Yeah. It's amazing.

[00:21:34] Adam: Really good. so where do we want to start? I, I liked this one part of it, what is an onboarded colleague to you? How would you guys define that? That's a, and honestly, I love the way that that frames it, right? It's like onboarding is a process that we do, but there's a goal to that process, right? And so how do you know when you've reached that goal?

[00:21:52] Adam: And I've never thought about it from that angle before.

[00:21:55] Tim: Well, I would say maybe you could just start by defining what it's not to me. So to me, it's not a person who's going through the hiring process. This is a person who has been hired. Anybody disagree or agree with that?

[00:22:08] Ben: I agree.

[00:22:09] Tim: Because the hiring process sucks sometimes. It really does. You know, going through rounds and rounds of interviews and there's so many, and the bigger the company, sometimes the worse the, the, the hiring process.

[00:22:19] Tim: So let's just assume you've got through all that crap and now it's day one. And, you're coming in to sign paperwork and to meet your team and stuff like that.

[00:22:28] Adam: Yeah. I would say onboarding doesn't really start until hiring is complete.

[00:22:32] Tim: hmm. Mm

[00:22:33] Ben: And one thing, at least in my company, because I was employee number one or number two, depending, I guess I was number two, technically. So there was no onboarding process very early on in the company. And then over years, the onboarding process was refined. And for a long time, we didn't even have a HR department.

[00:22:53] Ben: You know, we had a handful of people, then we had an HR department and then they had a much more official process. And the weirdest part for me was that I would talk to people who had just joined the company. And these people actually ended up knowing a lot more about the company itself than I did, because for me, it was just things that I heard along the way in various calls and Slack chat rooms.

[00:23:17] Ben: And for them, it was this like 16 page documented confluence onboarding workflow. So they knew all kinds of background about the company and who did what and who you would ask, you know, who do I talk to? If I need reimbursement, who do I talk to? If I need to go on vacation, who do I talk to about this and that?

[00:23:35] Ben: And people would ask me, I'd be like, I've got no idea. I didn't even know that was documented anywhere. So this stuff changes a lot over time. And that's, and that's important to also keep in mind.

[00:23:45] What is an Oboarded Colleague to You?

[00:23:45] Adam: So, I mean, if I could try to answer the question directly, what is an onboarded colleague? To me, the way that I think about that is like, onboarding is over when I no longer have to worry about helping you understand how to find information in the company and, and how to know what to do. Right? So like when you come to work in the morning and you have a project and you're working on it and you know what to do when you finish that project and how to get from that one to the next project, right?

[00:24:19] Adam: When you can get to the end of your first project and start your second project without Any help other than, you know, if it's your manager or whatever, however that gets assigned. I

[00:24:30] Tim: Yeah. When you feel like you can leave them alone for a couple days and, and know that they're not wondering what to do, I kind of feel like they're on board and that takes a while to get there. Cause it's like, you know, you first get there, it's like, how do I get my work? Where do I find out what I'm doing?

[00:24:43] Ben: You know, who do I talk to if I'm stuck? I would limit

[00:24:47] Tim: can be challenging.

[00:24:47] Ben: the scope a little bit more though. I, instead of like being able to start a new project on your own, I would say maybe just like taking the next ticket, like someone who's confident I can take the next ticket off of the Kanban board and move that to completion and feel confident about that.

[00:25:05] Adam: mean, that could be a totally legit way of like getting from current assignment, task, whatever to next one. Yeah. And if that's your process for your team.

[00:25:15] Carol: Yeah, so for me, I'm gonna take a step back. I don't think that Being onboarded means that you are able to complete work fully. An onboarded person to me just is someone who can ask the right questions, has made the contacts with the people to know how to keep making progress. So even if they don't understand our application, they don't understand the flow, they at least show them that they can ask when they're stuck.

[00:25:43] Carol: And they can keep the conversations going and they know when to reach out. Like, that's onboarded to me. I'm not going to expect someone to understand every story they pick up for, you know, six months or a year before they actually are committing solid work that is guaranteed to be good. I just want to know that We've given you all the context that you need.

[00:26:06] Carol: We've given you the context of the work and you're able to ask in an open forum without being worried that it's going to sound stupid.

[00:26:14] Onboarding Buddies

[00:26:14] Ben: Have you ever had an onboarding buddy? I, we had, we had that. I don't know if it was an official part of the documentation. I think it was more like Steve O is joining our team, like our little team within the company. And, Hey, Tim, would you mind being his onboarding buddy? Which basically just means if Steve O has any questions, Tim's going to be the first guy you talk to.

[00:26:39] Ben: You'll get on, maybe do a little screen sharing, maybe do some pair programming just to get everyone up to speed on where repositories are and how to access GitHub and that kind of stuff.

[00:26:48] Adam: Yeah. I had one of those when I joined at Penn and it was a lot of like exactly what you're saying. Like if I don't know where to find information, that person would be the one to be like, okay. Here's where you find it on the employee portal sort of thing.

[00:27:02] Tim: And I think a few years back, I kind of was someone's onboarding buddy, hired a, a young guy out of college and, and, we were in the same office together, which was, which was, you know. Nice. So that he could ask me pretty much any questions. I just remember spending hours just explaining because, you know, we're talking about insurance and like having explained to him, not just about coding, but like, all right, here's what insurance terms mean, you know, what is, what is a coverage A, what's, what's, you know, what's, all these sorts of things.

[00:27:29] Tim: And so he would just. We're in the same office. So he just like, Hey, I got this ticket that says this. I don't even understand what they're asking me to do. And then just explaining it. And I mean, it was kind of informal, but it kind of worked. He got up to speed actually pretty quick and was doing some pretty good stuff within, within a few weeks.

[00:27:44] Adam: To be clear, you're explaining these things because you are working or at the time, at least you were working in the insurance industry. So you're giving industry terms

[00:27:53] Tim: Right. I mean, industry terms and right. Yeah. Vocabulary. Yeah. Cause every, you know, depending on, like, I imagine in the, the charitable donations to colleges, there's terms that a person coming off the street doesn't really know what they mean or even understand why people are doing what they're doing.

[00:28:08] Tim: Right. So, um, being able to explain terminology that everyone takes for granted, it's, it was, it's kind of helpful in the onboarding someone, but I mean, that's really just not doing the onboarding period. I imagine that kind of happens throughout. Someone's early career with the company.

[00:28:25] Carol: So for the, for like the buddy assignment, Ben, that you were talking about, I love that so much. Cause when I was at Clear Capital, I didn't even pick up work. It was join in with another engineer and they're just going to show me the work that they're doing. And I'm going to hear their thought process.

[00:28:43] Carol: I'm going to get to see them click through the system. I'm going to see how they work. I'm going to see how they commit code. I'm going to see the pull requests. And I'm just going to watch this on repeat until I'm asking questions and until I'm making suggestions. And then we start giving me work. So it's like, okay, well, just so you know, we actually have a backlog ready for you.

[00:29:02] Carol: So that's one thing they did as well. They were like, Hey, we're onboarding someone. So these 10 stories, nobody else can pick them up because they're one point stories. They're two point stories. There's something that's easy for your mentor to teach you. And it's a very quick win. So you get to celebrate that with your team.

[00:29:20] Carol: So as soon as you push out code, the team's all cheering and happy and. Giving you virtual high fives because you did your first PR and you did your first commit and things went into production and everything's good. But it was such a simple, like, change this color on a button type work that it's not a big deal.

[00:29:39] Carol: It's just more that you got the process down and you're able to do the job.

[00:29:45] Ben: And when you say you're seeing people click around, are you, you're doing screen share that whole time? Basically, they're sharing their screen. You're just sitting there watching and talking.

[00:29:54] Carol: yeah. And then Visual Studio, they have the, I can't remember what the tool is called, but it's where you can just share Visual Studio with someone and you

[00:30:04] Adam: talking about Visual Studio Code?

[00:30:06] Carol: they have it in Visual Studio

[00:30:08] Adam: they? Okay.

[00:30:09] Carol: Enterprise too.

[00:30:10] Adam: In code, it's called Live Share. I don't know if

[00:30:12] Carol: LiveShare. Yeah. Yeah. Same thing. So you can just open up a LiveShare and be on a video call with someone and your IDE matches their IDE.

[00:30:20] Carol: So you're able to see what they're coding and you can click around as well.

[00:30:24] Adam: like that. It's like shadowing somebody

[00:30:27] Carol: It is. Thanks. Thanks.

[00:30:28] Adam: yeah,

[00:30:29] Carol: I'm just sitting there jotting down notes. I'm like, okay, PRs have to go to this many people and a database change needs to go to this PR. And I'm learning from just watching them do their process and then learning the system as well. So that was my, my, by far one of my favorite onboarding experiences was onboarding with ClearCapital.

[00:30:49] Tim: that's, and particularly remote teams that's doing that is extremely, extremely good to be able to share screens and stuff. If you're not sharing an office. I,

[00:30:58] Ben: we had this one thing happen at work, which was pretty funny because in theory, this was such a smart thing for the company to do, but it caused such a massive backlash that was just purely an emotional who moved my cheese moment. So. The security team has the ability to control everyone's computers. We have security software where they can wipe computers remotely and enforce, you know, the Chrome has to be updated within five days of a patch being available, that kind of stuff.

[00:31:27] Ben: And at some point someone said, Hey, it would be great if every time you opened a new tab in Chrome, it defaulted to our internal company portal in Confluence, which. In the abstract, you're like, Oh, that's brilliant. Like, of course, that way no one has to remember where this is. They just open a new tab and they're ready to go.

[00:31:45] Ben: Oh my God. Everybody was so furious about this and just could not understand who would make such a unilateral decision and how awful this is and like, why do I want our confluence page to open every time I open new tabs is ridiculous. And I mean, I think it was mostly just emotional, right? Cause you could command tab and then command L and you just type in a new address.

[00:32:08] Ben: It wasn't like a real blocker for anything, but

[00:32:11] Adam: So was it, was it a, was it a slow loading page or anything like that?

[00:32:16] Ben: Maybe I don't even remember. It was just, it's like you hit command T and you want to see a relatively blank page or, you know, basically just the Google search in books, inbox, or whatever it is, not inbox input. And people just flipped out at having to see a Confluence page.

[00:32:34] Adam: I honestly, I think I would have been among them. I don't know if I would

[00:32:38] Ben: think I was.

[00:32:38] Adam: out to

[00:32:39] Tim: I, I definitely would.

[00:32:42] Adam: I would, I would have certainly dissented. I don't know how angry I would have gotten about it, but like, to me, it sounds like, the tech people have a, you know, like maybe I have my own little like self portal, which has like all the links to the stuff that I use most frequently.

[00:32:56] Adam: And that's my start page. And you've now taken that away from me. Right? Like,

[00:33:01] Ben: Well, it's like, I think a lot of people, I don't know what piece of software plugin it is, but I see a lot of people on screen shares, they'll hit command T to open a new tab. And it's always some new, like really high res photo of a mountain scape. And then the next time it's a lake and next time it's a meadow.

[00:33:16] Ben: I don't know what's doing that, but you know, people like to configure their stuff and they have a happy way to do it. I think it lasts like three days before they had to revert it from the

[00:33:26] Adam: Yeah, like, yeah, you know, I think that one is more of like, you put that in your onboarding, you know, welcome doc, like, hey, here's our thing. Maybe consider making it your browser new tab homepage, right? Like, uh, but make it totally optional.

[00:33:42] Bad Onboarding Experiences

[00:33:42] Ben: I'm curious in this Kamil question, when he says that the long story short, it's not ideal, I wish, I wish we had a little bit more insight into what. they were thinking was not ideal in their current workflow. I'm trying to think about, because I was so early in the company, I don't really have a good ex, example of a bad onboarding experience.

[00:34:00] Ben: I don't know if anyone here does.

[00:34:02] Tim: Well, I mean, maybe somebody could,

[00:34:04] Ben: You're like,

[00:34:04] Carol: go ahead, Tim.

[00:34:05] Ben: do you

[00:34:06] Ben: got?

[00:34:06] Tim: no, no, you go ahead, no, you go ahead, Carol.

[00:34:10] Carol: Well, so I've onboarded a few times, as you know, so this most recent onboarding, I got apologized to so many times from so many people because I started as an engineer and just going to be an engineer on the team and within, My first week, they were like, Oh, you're going to be over a team. You're going to be an architect.

[00:34:32] Carol: And I'm like, Oh, I don't even know the system. They're like, don't worry, we'll train you. And then by the next week, Oh, we're going to give you a whole brand new team, but we don't know what your backlog is. We don't even know what the customer wants and we don't even know when this team will be. So it was.

[00:34:48] Carol: Total chaos the first few weeks of people asking what I was doing. And I had to honestly go, I don't know. It changes daily. Like, I don't know what my role is going to be. I don't even know what's happening right now. It was just a disaster because it didn't felt very thought out. And I know plans were changing, contracts changed, and I kind of fell in at the exact time when they needed me to be there, but it definitely was a challenge onboarding this time,

[00:35:15] Time to First Commit

[00:35:15] Tim: Hmm. I was thinking we could maybe deduce from some of the questions Kamil asks about, do you care about time to first commit, which, which I, I, I would imagine that is a proxy for a level,a measurement of productivity, but I would think that. Actually, commit is probably not a good, because if, if you're, if you're left, your, your yardstick for productivity is first commit, then your first commit is hello world and push it up.

[00:35:45] Tim: Right. I mean, right.

[00:35:47] Adam: If you, if you actually measure it, then it ceases to become a useful measurement, right? But

[00:35:52] Tim: I mean, really what you're wanting is how, how, how soon are they getting to an acceptable level of productivity?

[00:35:58] Adam: Right. I remember, I forget who it was. I'm, I'm going to guess and say it was Zach Holman, but there was, somebody who worked at GitHub many years back wrote a pretty, I guess it kind of went viral or whatever, blog post about what it's like to join GitHub as an employee, and they said that, they shipped to production on their first day.

[00:36:17] Adam: It's like, you get your Mac, it's already set up, you know, sort of like the default way and you're welcome to customize it, but it's, it's already in a usable state and you're like, okay, here's your project and. You can go, go to town and if you are, you know, capable, like if you're coming in as a senior developer, then you're probably pretty much ready to hit the ground running at that point and you can ship a feature or something like that, or a bug fix on day one, like two, all the way to production.

[00:36:41] Adam: That's pretty awesome. And I think that that was more a brag about like their internal processes, the CI, CD, you know, like the, the ability to go from, I did a thing to that thing is running in production. Less about onboarding, but I think there's an element of onboarding to that. Mm-Hmm.

[00:37:01] Ben: I think you're right. I mean, I think half of what makes onboarding so challenging in some cases is the amount of. manual labor that has to be done and the ability for things to go off the rails. And, you know, I think containerization has changed a lot of this. I remember early on in the company, the, from a developer standpoint, the onboarding process was like install Homebrew and then you got to install, you know, this version of less CSS and then this version of some other compiler.

[00:37:33] Ben: And then this version of cold fusion. And then this version of MySQL,

[00:37:37] Adam: And don't do 'em out of order because then

[00:37:39] Ben: Yeah, yeah, exactly. And then someone installs the wrong one and the compiler is now doing something weird, but we don't know what to do to roll it back. And now it's like install Docker for Mac, pull down all the images and start them.

[00:37:53] Ben: And hopefully all those things are relatively easy.

[00:37:56] Adam: Mm-Hmm.

[00:37:57] Ben: we've talked a lot before about pushing people into the pit of success. You know, I think the more that the onboarding process can push you into the pit of success, the smoother and more luxurious it's going to feel.

[00:38:08] Adam: So, this is fantastic. I'm, I'm over here taking notes because as we know, I'm going to be onboarding somebody very soon. but, so, and I know we kind of tried to start with like, what is onboarding and, and, you know, what is, what is. Bad or, or, you know, what is, what is not onboarding? But, I do have a, a sort of a little tip or secret that, that I do, that I really like, and that is as similar to Ben, you know, employee number one ish.

[00:38:36] Adam: Yeah. one of the things that I did when we started hiring other people is like, okay, what are all the questions that I would ask on day one, day two, day three? And I wrote what I, I, I created a Trello board and I called it, you know, AlumniQ Employee Handbook. And I just started sharing it with everybody that joins the company.

[00:38:54] Adam: And it's like, you know, there's a, there's a column called Your First Day. And there's just two cards in it. One is Welcome Aboard, Read Me First. and the other one is, it's like a history. I guess at one point. Steve got tired of the early employees, like not knowing the history of the industry. And so he just started, like, he wrote down a screed of like, you know, this company did this and it's like, because of this reason, and then these players and it's like, it helps to provide that context for like, why does our company exist?

[00:39:23] Adam: Why are we in the. The niche that we're in sort of thing. and I was like, this is gold. You know, I can't let this just go by in our Slack history. It, at the time it was probably like HipChat or something, but like, I can't just let this, you know, roll off the tail of chat messages that are no longer.

[00:39:41] Adam: Searchable. So I copy and pasted it into the travel board. And it's like, this is useful information, have that there. And it's also like, okay, then there's like another column. That's like money stuff, right? How do you get paid? What do you do for insurance? What do you do for retirement? What do you do for paid time off?

[00:39:54] Adam: What do you do for expenses and travel? Like all that sort of stuff. And just like all those questions that you need to know the answer to, but like, it's not really, let's say appropriate to ask during the hiring phase. Right. All that stuff that you just, I don't even need to know it. I just need to know that I know where to find the answers when I need the answer.

[00:40:15] Tim: that's awesome. I was like, so I'm part of a huge, giant multinational corporation and we have Workday and I can never find any info. I always have to wind up emailing HR and going, Hey, I don't remember our policy on X and I wait three days and they eventually, you know, after a

[00:40:30] Adam: new tab homepage.

[00:40:34] Tim: normally they don't even point me to a document. They just tell me, right? So it's like, yeah, that's great to be able to have a place that you can just go look that up.

[00:40:41] Adam: they call you on the phone and read you the URL. H T T P colon backslash backslash. That, oh, I hate that so much. Like when you're watching the news or something and they say backslash, it's like, I just want to reach through the TV and smack them. Like, A, just say slash. Everybody knows what you mean. And B, if you're gonna say back or forward slash, say the right one.

[00:41:03] Tim: Yeah.

[00:41:05] Ben: I think good intentions. Don't scale well. And what I mean by that is people will start to do something with the best of intentions. The onset, it's easy to make sense of it, but then it doesn't get curated properly over time. Even little things like in Slack, there's the ability to pin things within a Slack channel.

[00:41:26] Ben: So you could, someone could say, Hey, here's an important document. Let me pin it. And then it'll list the pin things at the top. And when you have one important document, that makes a whole lot of sense. But three years later, you look up and you have like 47 messages pinned to the top

[00:41:41] Tim: Scroll, scroll, scroll to get to the

[00:41:43] Ben: Yeah. Yeah. Or, or even like confluence and again, best intentions just don't scale well. Someone says, Hey, wouldn't it be great to know how this Lambda function works? Oh yeah. I'll write it up in a confluence document. And then four years later, you have like an encyclopedia Britannica of how everything works, which is just.

[00:42:02] Ben: Not consumable in any way. You lose kind of all the information architecture that would have gone in had you retrofitted, you know, that information into something consumable. And I don't know how to keep that clean over time. Cause that definitely takes work and it takes.

[00:42:18] Adam: so I kind of, I kind of sidetracked myself earlier, but so there was two things that I created, one of which was that employee handbook Trello board, and there's another one that's like specifically for engineering people, right? Other developers, and it's like, here's the tools that I use and why I like them.

[00:42:34] Adam: You're obviously free to use whatever you want to use, but like. These are the things, there's links to them and here's my Git config and blah, blah, blah, all that. And that's like its own wiki page. And at the top of it, it's like, you are now responsible for anything that you learned that you wish was in this document.

[00:42:50] Adam: It is now your responsibility to put it in this document. Like you update the onboarding doc for the person that comes after you.

[00:42:59] Carol: my, my onboarding doc here where I'm at now came very differently with the list of software. It said, these are the only things you are allowed to use. Do not plug any USB devices into your laptop. Do not connect anything that has not been approved through. ISOs and Ops people and yeah, and if you want to use something else, there's a process, but this is all you get.

[00:43:25] Adam: Well, that's

[00:43:25] Tim: but you're working for the U. S. government. So

[00:43:27] Carol: Yeah. But I miss the days of just picking out what extensions I want to put in and what plugins I want to use. And I miss,

[00:43:35] Adam: powered electric gloves.

[00:43:37] Carol: I know.

[00:43:38] Ben: You know, can I, can I slide red for one second here, just cause Carol mentioned USB stuff and here's, here's something that gets under my, under my craw, no, that's not the right thing. Anyway, I watch these movies and maybe this is because I've gone through so many security trainings at work. This stuff is just always a little bit top of mind for me.

[00:43:55] Ben: But I watch these movies about technology and CIA and counterterrorism, all this stuff. These people are like, Oh, I'm accessing this site through seven levels of VPN. And it's, it's bouncing off of Bangladesh. And then it's going over to France. Then it's going down to South Africa. And then later on in the movie, that same person will just take a USB stick and plug it into their regular computer.

[00:44:17] Ben: And I'm like, no, you don't do that.

[00:44:19] Tim: don't do that.

[00:44:21] Ben: Why were you doing all that other stuff?

[00:44:24] Adam: But it never turns out to be a Chekhov's thumb drive,

[00:44:26] Ben: Yeah,

[00:44:27] Ben: yeah,

[00:44:27] Adam: totally benign.

[00:44:29] Carol: Yeah. My husband always tells me, he's like, the more you know about something, the less you can watch it in movies.

[00:44:37] Adam: For sure.

[00:44:39] Tim: Try, try being a background actor. You spend a lot of time just looking at the background going, yeah, that, that person has done the same repetition like 15 times in a row. That is so unnatural. You're not allowed to talk during scene. So then people will just mimic talking. And you're like, they're just saying wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah over and over

[00:44:58] Ben: carrots, peas and carrots, peas and carrots, peas and carrots.

[00:45:01] Hand Holding

[00:45:01] Tim: so having onboarded, like it's been a long time since I've had to really onboard like lately, I just kind of steal people from other parts of the company, but you know, back, back in the day when I was hiring a lot of people and, and helping onboard them and get them, you know, on getting productive. I did.

[00:45:19] Tim: Really kind of worry about how much I feel I should handhold them or have them handheld, right? Either I do it, right? Or I get someone else to do it. That means their productivity goes down because they're having to spend time with this person versus just kind of throw them in the deep end and see how they do, right?

[00:45:38] Tim: You know, give them some vague instructions and, and see either A, they come to you and go, I really need some help to see. If they're able to do that, because that is actually a very important skill to be able to ask for help when you need it versus, you know, them just sitting there and doing nothing and being fine with it.

[00:45:55] Tim: Because if you find a person who's perfectly willing to do nothing all day and they're absolutely fine with it, that is not a person you want working for you.

[00:46:02] Carol: So the throw them in the deep end can be okay. You have to make sure you have the right safeguards in place though. Like they can't have access to the production database. If you're just going to throw them in and say, make the change and go win, you got to make sure everything's set up to prevent any mass.

[00:46:20] Carol: Catastrophe from happening,

[00:46:23] Tim: Yeah, and I did struggle with it because sometimes I felt guilty. Like, I feel like I should be spending more time with them, but at the same time, like, you know, no, they're college educated people. They should be able to figure some stuff out on their own. That's almost sort of a test.

[00:46:38] Ben: I

[00:46:38] Ben: feel like I'm totally making this up, but I could swear that I heard an interview one time and some, a manager was saying that he will, when he's onboarding a new employee, he will purposefully give them a set of instructions and leave one of the instructions out because he wants to make sure.

[00:46:55] Ben: That someone won't just sit there and spin their wheels. That they'll come and ask him for help. Cause there's literally no way to move forward without asking for help. I could totally be making that up though.

[00:47:04] Tim: I mean, let's, let's just say hypothetically, that's real. That, that is a bit of a jerk move.

[00:47:08] Carol: Yeah,

[00:47:11] Tim: That's a power play.

[00:47:12] Carol: I would probably be crying. I'd be like, this is supposed to be like able to be done. And I'm so stupid. I can't figure it out. That wouldn't go well with me. I'd be like, here's my resignation and you missed a step in your instructions.

[00:47:26] Tim: Yeah, I, it sounds like that person is a toxic

[00:47:28] Ben: I could be,

[00:47:29] Adam: Yeah. I was trying to come up with, like, the words. That's, that's well put, Tim.

[00:47:34] Carol: Yeah.

[00:47:34] Ben: Let's, let's just say that I made that up because maybe

[00:47:36] Ben: that was a, maybe that was a fever dream that I had one time.

[00:47:40] Carol: Yeah. I'm definitely more of a fan of hold some hands. Know you're going to lose the productivity. Things are going to go down a bit, but then you build such a great team morale and you build those bonds with people on your team that it's worth it in the long run.

[00:47:54] Employee Surveys

[00:47:54] Tim: I would say kudos to Kamil for number one, basically talking to their employees about how onboarding is, right? I mean,

[00:48:03] Carol: Oh yeah.

[00:48:04] Tim: that takes a level of organizational humility to say. Hey, how are we doing on this? And then not just asking it and going, cause a lot of times, I mean, we do surveys at work and I've sat through the, where we analyze a survey and there's a whole lot of, well, let me give you the background on this.

[00:48:19] Tim: And, you know, it's like, it's a whole lot of hand waving to say why, what they said really doesn't count and we're awesome. And they're just, you know, a cranky person. but then they did one on ones to say, you know, what, what, you know, what do we need to do? And apparently it was not ideal. So, I mean, kudos to, kudos, I don't know who Kamil is or where they work or what company they're with, but just doing that in itself, I, I think is a huge, huge step forward in trying to make the experience of being a new employee at a company better.

[00:48:49] Carol: Yeah. Completely agree.

[00:48:51] Ben: although I will say sometimes the, the openness can backfire a little bit and I'll, and I'll only get, this is, this is my own personal experience here. We used to use something at work. I feel like it was called Engage. It was

[00:49:04] Ben: some. It was some sort of survey where it's, you know, like, between one and five, how do you feel about this?

[00:49:09] Ben: And how do you feel about that? And I think one of the questions was always like, on a scale of one to five, how, how much do you, I was like, it was like, how much do you think what you're saying now will have an impact on the company? And over months, people were just like, one, this will have zero impact on the company because nothing ever changes around here.

[00:49:29] Ben: And, and they eventually just stopped doing the survey. Cause I think it was actually just making people angry.

[00:49:33] Adam: I

[00:49:35] Tim: Like, let's stop measuring this. We don't like the answer. We, we use one called PECON, so P E A K O N, not like the nut, but like peak, like visually look into something. But my only gripe with it is the scale is weird. It's zero, it's one to ten, right? And so you would think that if you, everyone has their mental model of what a five is.

[00:50:02] Tim: A five is like, I'm neutral, right? I'm

[00:50:04] Tim: neutral. But no, in Pcon, If you're not an 8, that person is a detractor. That person basically doesn't like your company. They're unhappy. And no matter how much you explain to people, I finally got a good PECON score when I, like the day before the survey sat everyone down virtually and said, listen, 8, 9, or 10.

[00:50:28] Tim: It means that you think that this company is doing well and that my leadership is good. Anything below that means it sucks. So that's what I'm telling you. You can score, if you do think it sucks and you don't like how things are going, please rate it that way so you can deal with it. But just understand five does not mean you don't care or you're neutral.

[00:50:47] Tim: It means you absolutely are like about to leave the company. So

[00:50:50] Carol: Holy crap.

[00:50:53] Ben: Yeah. I would

[00:50:53] Adam: it's, it's very important to establish that rubric, right? So that everybody's speaking the same language.

[00:50:59] Tim: yeah. Cause I went from like getting a six, which was like, they're like, Tim, what's going on is you, are you going to start losing people? I'm like, no, no, no. Once we had that one meeting and it's like, okay, it's a 9. 2. Oh my God. You're a rockstar. How'd you turn things around? I'm like, I explain numbers. I explain numbers.

[00:51:15] Tim: And people's mental

[00:51:17] Ben: Yeah. I was just hearing someone, I can't remember if this is the, NPS, the net promoter score or the CSAT, which is the customer satisfaction score. One of them uses the same kind of thing where it's like, if you're not an eight or a nine, you're a detractor of the company. That's, I mean, I don't know the science behind that.

[00:51:38] Tim: like when they deal with numbers, it's like you see a survey one to 10, you're like, okay, five is like, I don't care. Yeah. I'm neutral. Right. And that's just normal. But

[00:51:48] Ben: I blame schooling, you know, our, our, you know, cause our A through F you think like a 60,

[00:51:54] Carol: no F anymore.

[00:51:56] Ben: Is there no F

[00:51:57] Carol: Oh wait, no, there's no D anymore. There's an F. Yeah. Sorry.

[00:52:00] Ben: Well, you know, it's like 60. You're like, Oh, better than half. They're like, no, you failed.

[00:52:08] Tim: I do really like Kamil's last statement there, about. They love our users and our developers should get the same treatment. I do think that's true. I do think it's important to, that, that onboarding period, I mean, it's been, I mean, so many years since I've joined a new company, but it's like, you want to know what you need to, you really want to impress people that first, those first few weeks, months.

[00:52:32] Tim: And if you don't know how to do that, it's like, I don't know. Is it me or is it the company?

[00:52:38] Ben: I was

[00:52:39] Tim: A lot of times it's the company. Seriously.

[00:52:41] Ben: while I was listening to an interview not so long ago, I can't remember who it was, and they basically said that everything is a product, that there's the product you're building that your users use and your company is a product that the employees use. And this is, you know, like Slack is a product that your developers use.

[00:52:57] Ben: And, and I thought that was a very interesting way to look at it, that, that everything can be improved and you can sort of put the same type of lens. On everything and an iterative approach and constantly be trying to improve it.

[00:53:09] Tim: A little sad.

[00:53:11]

[00:53:11] Takeaways

[00:53:11] Adam: okay, cool. So do we have any final thoughts on onboarding before we call this an episode?

[00:53:16] Carol: Do it better, people.

[00:53:19] Adam: I think, for me the key takeaways are I love the idea of that initial shadow period, that you talked about Carol. And then I, I, you know, I feel like maybe I went a little too hard on this when I, when I mentioned it, but like, I love the idea that I do, where I'm like, okay, you know, you are now being onboarded.

[00:53:37] Adam: You are, you have the, A better idea than anybody else in the world, what the holes are in our onboarding documentation. So please leave it better than you found it, right? Like it's not, I feel like when I described it earlier, I made it sound this, like

[00:53:52] Adam: this big, yeah,

[00:53:53] Adam: like super aggressive and it's not, you know, it's like, hey, you know, it better for the next person than you found it, please.

[00:54:02] Adam: and, and also, you know, these things change over time. Like I was just looking at our employee handbook and like, Instead of Team Chat, the card that where I talk about Team Chat, it was labeled Slack. Well, we don't use Slack anymore. So like the, that handbook has kind of rotted a little bit. Right. And I need to go through and update that.

[00:54:19] Carol: the other, the other thing that helps with onboarding with those kind of initial setup stuff is whoever was the last one in, onboards the next person because they have it the most fresh in their brain and how they're working and they know where the documentation is. So when you keep that rotation going, it helps, it helps you because they know when they come on, like you said, like, Hey, leave it better than you found it.

[00:54:42] Carol: Because when we hire someone else, you're onboarding them. So make sure anything you find, you're making it easier for them and for you, ultimately.

[00:54:52] Ben: like

[00:54:52] Adam: that.

[00:54:54] Ben: I'm, I'm, I'm not yet an AI enthusiast. I think AI can do some cool stuff, but I'm, I'm just a laggard in terms of technology in general. But I do think this seems like one of those areas where AI could probably make a big difference. And I imagine. That every, just in like a perfect world, I could imagine that anyone who gets onboarded to a company, they get their own private chat room, like Ben's onboarding buddy chat room.

[00:55:20] Ben: And I can go in and just ask questions like, Hey, who do I talk to about PTO? And, Hey, who do I talk to about getting an upgraded computer? And the chatbot would just be like, Oh yeah, no problem. Here's who you should talk to. And here's a link to the Confluence document that gives you more detail.

[00:55:37] Adam: Honestly, I'm really surprised that we haven't seen something from Atlassian to say like, here, it's now part of Confluence, you

[00:55:45] Ben: Yeah. Come on, Atlassian.

[00:55:47] Adam: they're like the only company that hasn't released an AI chat bot for their product.

[00:55:51] Tim: Yeah. We're using AI for our legal contracts now. I'm able to talk about them in the after show, but yeah, it's interesting.

[00:55:58] Tim: Well, that's a great segue, Tim. so why don't we go ahead and call this a show? It's a show.

[00:56:03] Adam: thank you. Very helpful.

[00:56:05] Tim: Thanks.

[00:56:06] Adam: Uh,

[00:56:07] Patreon

[00:56:07] Adam: I just want to let you know that this of Code is brought to you by Number 2. Who does Number 2 work for? It works for Invision apparently. and listeners like you, if you're enjoying the show and you want to make sure that we can keep putting more of whatever this is out into the universe, then you should consider supporting us on Patreon.

[00:56:23] Adam: Our patrons cover our recording, editing, and transcription costs. And we could not do this every week, or most weeks, glance sideways, glance other direction, without them. Special thanks to our top patrons, Monte and Giancarlo. You guys rock.

[00:56:37] Thanks For Listening!

[00:56:37] Adam: we do have a whole bunch of new patrons this

[00:56:40] Adam: week. Uh, yeah, I, I was really surprised and, and very happy to welcome them, welcome them all on, wow.

[00:56:47] Adam: Words are hard. I'm wearing my words are hard t shirt right now. So this is very appropriate.

[00:56:51] Adam: so, We've got a bunch of new patrons this week, and I just want to say a special thank you to all of them. So here are your names. Nordin Slimati. I'm probably going to butcher at least half of these.

[00:57:01] Adam: I apologize in advance. Peter Wye, Kamil Mraz,

[00:57:05] Tim: Who gave us our topic today? Thank you.

[00:57:07] Carol: Pew,

[00:57:08] Adam: Brian Sadler, who was interview guest last episode. welcome Brian and Charles Robertson, all all new patrons of the show. Thank you so much. If you'd like to help us out, you can go to patreon.com/workingcodepod. And we would love to have you. so Tim mentioned, the, legal docs, AI stuff. I'm interested to get into that a little bit. and I'm sure that we have some, all kinds of interesting stuff to say about the, what is it?

[00:57:33] Adam: The Apple Vision Pro. so we'll, I'm sure we'll be talking about that in the after show. If you'd like to, get in on the after show, you can go to patreon.com/workingcodepod, which I know I already said, but there you go. Now you have no excuse for URL is. And before I mess something else up, that's going to do it for us this week.

[00:57:51] Adam: We'll catch you next week. And until then,

[00:57:54] Tim: Remember your heart matters and please leave the onboarding docs better than you found them. Thank you.