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Reverse Onboarding, or: Get Serious Quickly

2022-04-03 — Michael Haupt

Here's a list of questions an engineer can ask when newly joining a team. It's sort of an onboarding checklist "from the other side". Many of the things on the list are typically covered by what a team / company does to onboard a new hire, but the change in perspective is interesting. I highly appreciate how the list zooms out from the basics - development environment setup and such things - to customer feedback and stakeholder involvement.

Any team operates best - in the sense of serving the company's customers - when it is fully engaged with and feels directly responsible for the customer experience. This is true at all levels - from individual engineer over team and organisation to the highest leadership roles. Everybody should be willing and able to feel proud about what they do. Applying a strong sense of craftsmanship implies caring about customer experience and quality.

Building software is complex work involving many interdependent roles. Consequently, no one can claim to work in a silo of any kind. To give an example, if an engineer (sorry for picking on you, folks) remarks something like "testing isn't my job, QA does that" is problematic: How can you feel accountable for the whole if you simply hand your work off to someone? You're reducing yourself to a cog in a gearbox that way.

Instilling a strong sense of responsibility and stewardship for the product starts with pointing out the relevant interconnections during onboarding - and that's why I like that list so much.

Tags: work