Friday, February 17, 2006

How Not To Be Seen

It's relatively rare these days to be part of a team that is just forming. Most of us start a new job with a bunch of existing developers already working on the product. So there is a period of adjustment as you learn the new team's process and culture.

One of the worst things to do during this time is to start commenting on the team's practices in a critcal manner, even if they are suboptimal. This will not endear you to your new colleagues.
  1. Don't assume that they are not reading current journals. If they are not taking advantage of the latest technology, it may not be because they haven't heard of it.
  2. Don't act surprised if they don't have all of the Best Practices implemented. Company politics, inertia, and scheduling may prevent them from implementing them
  3. Don't try to impose your favorite practice. You will appear arrogant. No matter how good an idea it is, you will piss people off.
  4. If you really wish to change, build support from within. No group welcomes an outsider trying to change things by fiat.
  5. Don't go running to the manager to get things done without first. It looks to coworkers like you can't support your idea, and want to short-circuit the team's evaluation of the idea.
  6. Never talk about how great the process was at your last job. The team has had to work under this company's system, and they are probably making the best of it here.
The executive summary: Don't assume that the team is full of idiots, and don't act superior.

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